Look after your feet they will walk you to great health If you are looking to get fitter and healthier, why not undertake an activity that comes naturally to us all. Walking is good for you, free and can fit around even the busiest lifestyle. We have collated a number of resources to inspire and guide you to greater fitness through walking.
We show you why walking is so good for you, give examples of fitness programs, the equipment required, where & who to walk with and how walking impacts on your feet.
Your feet are for life so it is vital that you care for your feet and take preventative measures to ensure they remain healthy. Here you will find tips on foot problems associated with walking and why, when and how you should seek the advice of a podiatrist.
Benefits of walking
Walking is good for you and if done at a brisk pace for regular exercise it helps condition your body and improve overall cardiovascular health in the same way running and jogging do. But compared with running, walking carries a significantly lower risk of injury, it reduces stress and gives you time to clear your head and aids better sleep. It's the nearest thing to 'perfect' exercise in terms of a safe, all-round workout and it doesn't cost a penny or need any special equipment.
What walking does to your feet?
In an average lifetime, we walk about 100,000 miles, which is tough on our feet. Yet our bodies were designed for moving not standing still, so walking is good exercise. Walking helps the muscles and ligaments in our feet to work more efficiently, and helps keep them supple and flexible.
So even if you have to sit around a lot in your job or at home, try to get up and walk briskly for at least 30 minutes every day. Feet are adaptable and can withstand a lot of pressure before they rebel. If you walk a lot, it’s important to wear the right footwear (link to footwear section) which won’t damage your feet.
Foot Problems associated with walking
How a podiatrist can help you keep walking
Consult your podiatrist if you start to develop pain when walking, or consider a visit before embarking on your new walking programme.
The main role of the podiatrist is to help you maintain normal mobility and function in the feet and lower limbs. Podiatrists provide the basis for the ideal walking style and posture and identify any conditions that may require further referral and management. They also relieve pain, treat infections and skin, nail, soft tissue and connective tissue problems. This is achieved in conjunction with other members of a multi-disciplinary health care team. Podiatrists can also give expert advice on footwear, so it is a good idea to take your walking shoes with you when you go to see your podiatrist.
How to contact a podiatrist
To find a local podiatrist, you can either approach your GP practice for an NHS referral, (in some areas you can self-refer) or if you decide to see a private practice podiatrist visit our Find a Podiatrist section.
May is National Walking Month and includes Walk to School Week (16-20 May 2016) so there are plenty of things to engage with.
We are delighted to announce that prose written by our Practice Business Manager, Reggie Simpson, will be featured in the Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Rhyme & Reason 2018 diary, now in its 26th year. The theme for this forthcoming year’s diary is ‘Freedom’. All proceeds from sales of the diary go to support this worthwhile charity.
Reggie says: ‘Although my entry wasn't among the top poetry and prize winners, I was chuffed to be selected for the 2018 diary. The theme was quite broad, but my degrees in politics and love of writing invariably drew me to entering the competition. In the end I settled on a focus of freedom in healthcare, no doubt inspired by my current employment at Betafeet Podiatry and the noble work of Rennie Grove Hospice Care ( www.renniegrove.org ).
Rennie Grove Hospice Care, formally known as Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, merged with Grove House, St Albans in 2010 to integrate services in south western Hertfordshire. The ethos and values of the two charities were closely aligned with the principle of allowing patients to lead a good quality of life at home for as long as possible, helping patients and their families avoid the distress of unnecessary hospital visits whenever possible.
The diaries can be ordered from the Rennie Grove website, payment by debit/credit card. It's part of their annual Christmas/holiday promotion. There will also be copies in local Rennie Grove shops. They are £5 each with additional postage if bought online. Shop locations can be found here: http://www.renniegrove.org/support/our-shops/online-shop/page/2/ .
Here is Reggie’s entry (to appear in the month of September 2018):
‘Do not count the days; make the days count.’
Muhammad Ali. Professional Boxer. Audacious. Charismatic. A winner in the ring.
But even when you have won it all, life throws you a few more punches.
Yes, his name opened doors and wealth, but the bombastic man of his younger years was humbled in later life, and following retirement, he dedicated himself increasingly to charitable work. Parkinson’s was already taking hold.
He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the highest honour the USA can bestow. He died in June 2016, aged 74.
Now the news is about boxing helping dementia sufferers.
So what does this mean for freedom? Does getting battered around the head spell freedom and choice? One would say yes; a boxer is free to take such risks. When the consequences deal you a fatal blow as a result, when do you lose your freedom? Is it when you have been reduced to a shadow of your former self, a normal human being, and have to rely on others? Muhammad Ali likely had plenty of resources to ensure his final days would help him on his final journey.
We tend to think of freedom in political terms. It is hard to remove freedom in healthcare from politics. Think NHS reform, among others. Freedom in a healthcare environment means more to the individuals and families when they have life-limiting illnesses and need the care of volunteer-run hospices such as Iain Rennie Grove.
The NHS gives patients the rights to make choices about different aspects of the care they receive, from the different treatment options available. How these are chosen is individual, although for those with life threatening or limiting illnesses this choice will fall on family members.
I quote the following:
‘In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties’.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Philosopher
September is World Alzheimer’s Month.