Walk Without Pain During the Corona Virus
Where'd You All Come From?
It was only a week into the Corona Virus lockdown that I started to notice a strange phenomenon.
At almost any time of the day if I went for a walk, I would find an unusually large number of people out and about on the walking tracks.
They were walking, running, cycling, skateboarding and skating and one day I even saw someone Ripsticking! There’s a flashback.
Anyway, it made me feel very happy.
Exactly What We've Been Wanting
All the time podiatrists are telling our patients that they should walk more.
We know that it is so important in the prevention and management of so many diseases and conditions including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart Disease
- Osteo-arthritis (yes, it was thought that too much exercise would cause Osteoporosis but we now know the opposite to be true).
- Peripheral Vascular Disease
- Dementia (Absolutely)!
- Varicous veins
Countless studies are constantly proving how beneficial regular, gentle to moderate exercise is on our health and well-being.
The Flip Side of More Exercise
The flip side to that of course is… we see a lot of soft tissue injuries coming into the clinic.
This is usually caused by one of a few things including doing too much too fast and too hard, not stretching appropriate muscle groups, and inadequate or worn out footwear.
So in the interest of keeping as many people of all ages out on the walking tracks with as few niggles and injuries as possible, I write this article to give you a few pointers that will reduce the risk of injury.
Look I totally get it, and even though I know it’s wrong, I’ve done it myself several times.
We start on your chosen exercise, after a few days we’re feeling pretty good in ourselves, so we push it further, and further.
Until we break.
Many of you may know I’ve had my struggles with back pain over the years and sometimes when I’m feeling good I’ll push it to far.
So here’s a few tips on getting into things a bit more sensibly, especially if you haven’t done a lot of exercise for a while.
On Day 1 walk at your own gentle pace for 20 minutes. If you need to stop, stop, and get going when you can.
Keep on the same amount for about 5 days to make sure your body gets used to that amount of exercise.
Increase by 5-10 minutes for the second week, and continue to increase your time and distance each week by about 20-25%.
The big thing is to not suddenly double or triple what you did last week just because you’re feeling great.
Pushing yourself too hard can cause an injury to set you back to where you were.
Give Yourself a Break
Okay there’s two things I mean by this.
- Give yourself a break by taking at least one day per week off from exercising. This will help both your body and mind to catch up a little to your new found energy.
- Give yourself a break! If you miss a day or two, or you can’t walk as far today that you walked yesterday, that’s totally okay.
If you beat yourself up about it, you are actually more chance of throwing in the towel than if you say, “okay that happened. Let’s get back to it today.”
Warm up and Stretch
If you suddenly start doing more exercise than you’re used to, tight and cold muscles are much more prone to injury and pain.
You can avoid this quite easily by doing a little bit of a warm up beforehand, and some stretching of the main muscle groups before and after you exercise.
The Warm up:
If you’re going to run – a five minute walk to warm up is a good idea.
If you’re going to walk, then start gently for about five minutes before getting into a more rigorous rhythm.
If you have a stationary bike, a few minutes on that can be a great way to warm up.
Basically the muscle groups that you need to stretch regularly are:
- The calf muscles – the muscles at the back of your lower leg. You can find a short video on our Youtube channel demonstrating this stretch by clicking here.
- The Adductors – these are the muscles on the inside of your thighs, you can stretch these muscles by spreading your feet apart until you feel a tightness in these muscles and bending the left knee before bending the right knee.
- The Hamstrings – these are the muscles at the back of the thighs – you can see a short video demonstration of this exercise by clicking here.
- The quadricep muscles – the muscles at the front of your thighs. These can be stretched by bending one knee and pulling the foot up towards your buttock.