Put Your Best Foot Forward

Walking is one of the best-known forms of exercise for even the most entrenched couch potato.

Getting out in the open air and taking a little exercise is the best antidote to the sedentary life so many of us find ourselves living in our TV-obsessed, computer-led society.

Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol are all by-products of a lifestyle that revolves around sitting around for huge chunks of our day.

The answer is to put your best foot forward – and get out into the great outdoors and make an effort to take at lease some exercise on a regular basis.

Walking your way to fitness requires the minimum amount of preparation – a stout pair of walking shoes and some purpose-made, flat-seamed walking socks are the only basic requirements you’ll need.

The secret to this – sometimes under-rated – pastime is in the planning.

If you’re not used to travelling long distances on foot, don’t…take it gently, build up slowly, and increase your mileage little by little.

Look After Your Feet

It goes without saying that badly-fitting footwear is going to cause unnecessary problems – and pain.

Make sure you buy your walking shoes or boots well in advance, and break them in slowly.

Tailor-made socks can play just as important a part in any exercise regime – if the socks rub and chafe at any point, you’ll be faced with painful blisters that will probably put an end to any aspirations you have of walking your way to a healthier lifestyle.

If you need to toughen your feet up fast, harden them by rubbing with surgical spirit after bathing.

Dust them with an anti-fungal foot powder if they are prone to sweating – soaking up the perspiration will alleviate the problem of excess moisture building up in your shoe.

If choosing a waterproof shoe – particularly useful in UK conditions – make sure they’re breathable; letting moisture out is as important as not letting rainwater to enter in the first place.

It is just as important that socks should be breathable too to stop the build-up of perspiration from the inside.

Ensure your footwear is comfortable – if blisters do start to develop, cover with adhesive plasters before they have a chance to become painful. Padded plasters will take the pressure off susceptible problem areas.

Always ensure your socks are washed regularly – the build-up of dirt can cause friction, which in turn leads to inflamed areas of skin and eventual blisters.

A pair of thin liner socks under your cushioned walking socks will also reduce the risk of blisters to nearly zero; your feet will be warmer as a result, but note that it might make your shoes a bit tighter.

If space allows it, carry a spare pair of socks and some talc…changing damp socks at lunchtime or when you’re finished feels great!

Nicki Williams is a walking enthusiast who writes for outdoor specialists Gear-Zone, where you’ll find all the major footwear manufacturers including Brasher, Keen, Scarpa,InoV8 and Meindl, and walking socks from 1000 Mile, Smartwool and Merrell

Picture source: Compfight