Hands tying the laces of walking shoes

Walk 30 minutes to maximize your health with minimum effort

Did you know that walking 30 minutes a day can improve your mental state, lessens stress, and improve overall fitness?

Read on to learn the maximum benefits awarded from doing minimum work.

Physical Benefits of Walking

With walking only 30 minutes a day, studies show an improvement in the strength of the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles.  This would not only help with regular everyday activities like climbing stairs but also help transition safely into other exercises like running and other sports.

Regular walking can also improve your cardiovascular fitness by reducing your resting heart rate, lessening your blood pressure, and helping to control blood sugars.  People who walk 30 minutes per day have been shown to lessen their stroke risk by 20-40%, depending on speed.

Maintaining a healthy weight with low-impact activities like walking is also an effective tool to reduce your risk of joint arthritis and reduce lower extremity joint pain.  Walking helps to increase your energy expenditure and strengthens the muscles around your knees and hips.  It also helps to lubricate the joint surfaces and improves the nutrition to the cartilage.

It is a highly recommended exercise for those with osteoporosis as a gentle weight-bearing exercise to improve balance and bone density.  Studies show that those who walk 30 min per day can reduce their risk of hip fracture by 40%.

Mental Benefits of Walking

In addition to the physical benefits, walking has been shown to improve your mood and lessen stress, especially when choosing a walk in a park versus in an urban setting.  It can be a great time to catch up with friends and increase social connectivity, which is one of the larger determinants of better health and longevity.

So grab your shoes, a friend, and a coffee, and head out to enjoy the weather and reap all the benefits that walking can provide

Which shoes are best for walking?

The correct walking shoe is key to maximizing the benefits of walking. What should you look for in a shoe?

First and foremost you need a shoe that provides proper shock absorption, especially if you are walking on the streets of Toronto!

To help with shock absorption, look for a shoe that has support in the midsole and outsole. The midsole is usually made up of a gel or foam that can reduce impact when your foot strikes the ground and the outsole has a tread that provides traction.

You should also make sure there is enough room in the toe box so you can wiggle your toes. There should be a half inch or space between your longest toe and the shoe’s tip.

Ultimately you do not want to feel like your feet are fighting against the structure of the shoe – rather, you want a pair of shoes that match the form of your foot! Need more advice? Book with one of our Physiotherapists!

Brands to consider (in no particular order)

  • Hoka
  • New Balance
  • Saucony
  • Asics
  • Brooks
  • Nike
  • Adidas

 

 

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