While walking is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get in your recommended exercise. It is the easiest because nearly everyone can do it and they can do it at any pace. Newbies can saunter and power walkers can burst down the sidewalk. And what can be cheaper than free? All you need is you and the outside world to walk.

This low-impact exercise is ideal for those who have heart problems and should not over exert themselves and for those who have joint issues. That being said, walking injuries can happen (and no, I’m not talking about tripping over your shoelace). You just need to know what to do to avoid them.

One of the most common walking/running injuries happen to your knee. The most common injury is called runner’s knee. While it happens mostly to those who hit heavier on the joint, it can still affect walkers as well. The injury happens when the cartilage under the kneecap become thin or weak. It results in serious pain for the walker. To make sure you avoid runner’s knee, strengthen your muscles around your knee, especially your quadriceps. Your quadriceps are the muscles on the top (front) of your thighs. If your muscles there are weak, it puts too much pressure on the cartilage under your knee cap. Strengthen your quadriceps with squats and wall sits.

Shin splints are equally troubling to a walker. A shin splint is also another injury to a muscle; this time the injury is around the shin or your tibia bone. The muscles are pulled around the bone by tissues. Shin splints are when that tissue and muscle are strained or injured. Shin splints are caused by very tight calf muscles, so obviously, you need to loosen your calf muscles to counter shin splints. Before you begin your daily jaunt, wake up your calves with a few calf raises. Post walk give your calves a little rub to keep the muscles loose.

Ever heard the phrase “Achilles heal” when someone is referring to his or her weakness? The phrase was not invented because of Achilles tendonitis, but it still works the same. A person can be strong in all aspects, but the “Achilles heel” is the one weakness. And those who have Achilles tendonitis know can take out even the strongest. This injury is also due to stiffness. Good stretching before and after will help keep your tendons loose and injury free.

Another big walking injury is plantar fasciitis. This injury is a strain on the tissues on the arch of your foot. Good arch support is the best way to avoid any strain on the arch. Unfortunately, those who have flat feet are most susceptible to this tissue strain. First, find a good pair of walking shoes that have good support in the soles. If you need extra help loosening the tendons, roll your feet over a tennis ball.

Use these tips to avoid any walking injuries in and around your home.

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