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  • Writer's pictureDr. Teresa Propato

Tips for starting a walking program during the COVID-19 quarantine

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

If we are going to find a few positives out of this pandemic, one is that we now have the time to get outside and walk (weather permitting). Walking is a great exercise for many of us. It requires little investment, or special equipment. However, you can develop pain or problems if you don’t start your walking program correctly. Here are a few tips to prevent injury and get you stronger and healthier during the quarantine.

1- START SLOWLY. If you have not been active, or have a health condition, talk with your health care provider to make sure you are healthy enough for exercise. Start off slowly and increase pace and distance gradually. Do not go from being sedentary to walking 3 or more miles per day/ 7 days per week. This is too much too soon. You should never feel pain when walking and if you do, stop right away. If you are normally sedentary, start your first walk with a slow to moderate pace for 10- 15 min. Each day try adding another 5-10 minutes.

2- WARM UP. This is important. Warm up your muscles for the first few minutes by walking at a slower pace, then gradually increase pace. This will avoid straining muscles and tendons.

3- STRETCH. There has been some controversy about whether to stretch before or after exercise. The newest evidence reveals that stretching when muscles are warmed up (after exercise) is the best time to stretch. It is also important that stretches are done properly to avoid injury. There are many resources online for calf and shin stretches. Hold a stretch at least 15 seconds, and AVOID bouncing.

4- Choose the RIGHT SHOES & SOCKS FOR YOU. Don't be frugal with your shoe & sock budget. Buying shoes is the only real expenditure necessary for a walking regimen, so treat your feet! Lightweight cross-trainers with arch support are good for most foot types. Additionally, consider trying a shoe with a wider toe box to give your foot a little more room for bunions and hammertoes. The ideal walking shoe should be stable from side to side, be well-cushioned (at least an inch of foam to the sole of the shoe, and it should enable you to walk smoothly. Many running shoes fit these criteria well, and for most people are acceptable for a walking program.

As with other shoes, athletic shoes should always feel comfortable and fit well as soon as you put them on. You should not wait for them to “break in”.

Wear absorbent athletic socks that fit your feet, not your husband's feet, or your teenage daughters.Socks really do make a difference! All Cotton socks do not keep your feet as dry, and do not wear as well, or stay in place as well, as synthetic blend socks do.

5- GOOD FOOT CARE. Nails should be cut regularly, straight across the toe to avoid ingrown nails and injuries to the nails.. Self-treatment of corns and calluses with over-the-counter remedies before starting to walk can do more harm than good. Avoid blisters by wearing well fit shoes and socks, and apply vaseline on areas that normally get red from rubbing in shoes or apply powder to your feet to reduce moisture to your feet.

I hope this gets you outside and walking and if you have any problems or questions give us a call at 215-491-1963!

Stay healthy everyone!

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