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Walking Shoe Advice
10,000 Steps a Day - Walking Shoe Footwear Matters

by Lorra Kristene Garrick -
From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

To reach the step quota, many pedometer devotees walk as much as possible wherever they’re at; whatever they have on their feet.

"Those who walk 5,000 to 8,000 steps (a day) in inappropriate walking shoes are doing more damage than good," says Dr. Ritchard Rosen, a podiatrist in Englewood, New Jersey, and chief of podiatric surgery, Holyname Hospital, Teaneck, New Jersey.

"When ambulating, a patient will have a certain degree of pronation (inward rolling of the foot) and stretch of the plantar fascia," a band of ligament-like tissue that connects the heel to the ball of the foot.

"If, however, the patient has a high arched or flat foot, sandals will not afford any longitudinal arch support, and a potential stress to the fascia, known as plantar fasciitis, will occur." A classic sign of this is heel pain upon awakening in the morning, or from extended walking.

"High-heeled shoes will cause potentially many problems if worn for any prolonged walking," says Dr. Rosen. "High-heeled shoes will cause shortening of the Achilles tendon and increase the stress to the ball of the foot. Abnormal forces to the ball may cause bursitis, synovitis (inflammation of joint fluid) and possible nerve irritation."

Even lower-heeled dress shoes, including men’s professional footwear, can lead to arch strain, tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, says Dr. Rosen.

Obviously, one should never perform any of the dynamic steps described earlier unless wearing well-designed walking shoes.

"I see a definite trend toward shoes that are both beautiful and merciful," says Dr. Stephanie Clements, podiatrist/orthopedist from Denver, Colorado. "Pumps that have a strategic mix of solid support and forefoot cushioning, mules featuring a sleek synthetic sole that's convexly curved just enough to allow the foot to roll forward instead of just slapping down. Leather uppers are often combined with fabric to be kind to bunions."

Dr. Rosen recommends that high heels be no more than 1.5 to 2 inches. For sandals: "Think of custom-made sandals with arch supports incorporated into the body of the sandal. Many podiatrists can fabricate these sandals."

Last but not least, take a pair of walking shoes with you to work so you can wear them for extended periods of walking.

10,000 Steps a Day: Adding Some Excitement to Your Walking Program

Okay, so you average 10,000 steps a day, as measured by your pedometer. Or maybe it’s 7,000. Point is, you are striving to hit a certain number of steps. You seek out every opportunity to walk. This means during TV commercials (that’s 1,000 steps right there!), having your newspaper delivered at the end of the driveway, and walking the long corridors at work rather than using email.

But has this lost its excitement lately? Are you not getting the results you expected? It’s time to add some challenge:

  • Trade walking up stairs for running up stairs, or climb them two at a time.

  • During commercials, skip to each room, and hop over anything that’s on the floor, such as toys, clothes, a briefcase, a small stool, etc.

  • If you’re outdoors approaching a curb, leap to it from several feet away.

  • If there are puddles, don’t walk around them; jump over them.

  • Kangaroo-hop to the mailbox or to retrieve the newspaper.

  • Shadow box while walking down the halls at work (but put your fists down if you see your boss heading your way).

  • Jump-rope across parking lots; merely walking them is just too easy.

  • Wear ankle weights around the house.

  • Walk backwards and sideways, push a weighted wheelbarrow, prance across a bed of rocks.

The author, Lorra Kristene Garrick, is a freelance writer and personal trainer.

Click here for a great selection of Pedometers for walking

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