The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

What Just 30 Minutes of Walking Does for Your Feet & Body

Posted by on Monday, January 23rd, 2017

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Many of our patients are athletes, but you don’t have to be training for a marathon or playing professional basketball to reap positive health benefits. NYC podiatrists at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine say that as little as 30 minutes of walking is good for your feet and your long-term health. You’ll notice we regularly promote walking tours on the site to encourage New Yorkers to enjoy different parts of the City and lead healthier lives. If you have any niggling aches and pains, stop by our Manhattan or White Plains office to speak with a foot and ankle specialist.

walking in nyc
Walking in NYC for just 30 minutes a day has health benefits. (Image Source: Flickr.com@craigdietrich)

Six Benefits of Walking 30 Minutes A Day

Walking keeps the soft tissues in your feet stretched, strong, and flexible. “We promote walking as a way to improve general health more than anything,” explains Dr. Mariola Rivera, DPM. “Stretching exercises will also keep you mobile and cut down on stiffness that begins to occur with age,” she adds. You can practice picking up marbles or a towel with your toes. You can roll a frozen water bottle or tennis ball under the arch of your foot.

She adds, “If you’re walking, you’re improving your circulation, which will help you heal faster if you become injured. You can easily burn 99 calories in 30 minutes to help toward your weight loss goals, which will reduce the pounding your fat pads take on a daily basis, and also reduce risk factors like diabetes or heart disease — which would have negative ramifications for your feet.”

Besides that, walking makes you happy. “Patients with a positive attitude have better health outcomes when they’re bouncing back from something like an ankle sprain or an Achilles rupture,” Dr. Rivera says.

Experts recommend just 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week — so 30 minutes of brisk walking a day. Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California found that fast walking reduced the risk of heart disease 9.3% — while running decreased the risk 4.5%. even more effectively than walking. Oregon State University researchers concluded that 30 minutes of walking for five days was enough to help people sleep better and feel more alert during the day.

NYC Podiatrists Offer Guidance For Starting A Walking Regimen

Even though 30 minutes is the ideal, Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, suggests starting with three shorter 10-minute walks each and slowly building up to the 30-minute walk once you feel comfortable.

Walking is one of the more low-impact ways to improve your fitness level, suitable for all ages — but that doesn’t mean you should just hit the streets for 30 minutes, particularly if you’re older, recovering from injury, or if you’ve been sedentary. You can start out walking for three short, brisk 10-minute walks before attempting 30. Focus on tightening your core stomach muscles and holding your spine straight, with your chin parallel to the ground. Roll through your feet from heel to toe.

The right footwear is crucial. Try on shoes with the socks you normally wear — and at the end of the day when your feet are most swollen. Seek shoes designed for walking, which offer greater support in the heel and dips in the back to reduce stress on the Achilles tendon. Make sure you have wiggle room in the toes and that you can lace the shoe so that your heel doesn’t slide around. The sole should be flexible, the upper lightweight, and breathable.

To keep up with your walking routine, choose a scenic place to walk, track your progress with the Map My Run app, alter your course regularly, and enlist a buddy to join you. Try walking uphill to work your glutes or doing speed-walking intervals to increase the intensity from time to time. Try long, flat “endurance” walks other days. These longer walks are a good sign of whether to go further or scale back a little the following week.

When To See A Podiatrist In NYC

There are many reasons to add a New York City podiatrist to your healthcare team:

  • To diagnose and treat pain or limited mobility of the foot and/or ankle
  • To rehabilitate an acute or chronic lower extremity injury
  • To ask questions about footwear choices, brands, types, individual wear patterns
  • To learn about stretches, icing, compression, and other at-home care methods
  • To receive an individual foot structure assessment and gait analysis
  • To get a pair of custom orthotics that relieves pressure and enhances athletic training

Book your appointment online, call our office, or stop by for more information.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.