The word “walking”, which comes from the English word “to walk”, means walking. But, in reality, it is more than just a sporting variant of walking because it requires a certain technique. In the USA, walking, like jogging, has become a mass sport. It is considered an ideal sporting activity for a healthy lifestyle and does not overload the joints because it puts very small loads on the locomotive system. In this sport, the shock and torsional loads are approximately three times smaller than in jogging, so it is a recommended activity even before starting a race workout. Because of its gentle technique, walking is indicated as physical training for people with wear problems in the joints of the lower limbs and spine, which should avoid shock loads on the joints and spine.
Another advantage of this gentle form of training is that it involves many skeletal muscles (global body training), which allows you to effectively train the body’s endurance performance capacity. Walking is not a competitive sport, but a moderate activity that anyone can practice all year round: more or less experienced sportsmen and women, young and old, healthy people and people with health problems.
The right equipment
At first you don’t need to buy expensive equipment. The important thing is that the clothes are comfortable and that you feel good about it. Its greater or lesser lightness will depend on the weather. If walking all year round, you should buy a visor cap and sunglasses with UV filter for the summer. In winter, change your hat for a warm hat, gloves and scarf.
Although walking poses no risk to your joints, it is important to walk with the right footwear for your feet. You will find special walking shoes in the sports shops, but you can start with a normal sports shoe.
Before choosing shoes, it is advisable to know the exact shape of your foot. To do this, go to an orthopaedist or a specialist shop that can advise you accordingly. When you buy them, try only those that are suitable for your foot, because occasional deformations can occur. An inner sole adapted to your foot will allow you to support the plantar vault and reduce the load on the musculoskeletal system. In addition, the joints can also be unloaded by means of special cushioning systems (air or gel shock absorbers) for the shoes. Templates can counteract rapid wear on the inner sole and, due to additional cushioning, further unload the feet.
To prevent sneakers from squeezing and therefore causing discomfort, it is advisable to buy them in larger numbers than those normally used. The fingers should move freely, without feeling pressured on either side. At the back, a reinforcement should cover the entire heel, to give it stability and tighten it against the foot. The toecap must be flexible and elastic to support the foot’s plantar flexion movement and the pressure movement exerted by the toes when walking. Shoes should have a good ventilation system to maintain adequate foot temperature. Due to the special walking technique and the load it places on the shoe, it is important that this type of footwear is used exclusively for this sport activity.
As your training capacity improves, your desire to own a good team will increase. The experienced practitioner can buy the special walking shoes, because their low heel and chamfering facilitates the execution of the technique. The bevelled profile favours the extension movement of the foot on the ground. This way, the fingers don’t “hit” the ground so fast. In addition, the anterior tibial musculature is not so heavily loaded. To prevent blisters from forming on the feet, wear suitable socks: polyester or a polyester compound with a small piece of cotton so that sweat does not remain on the skin and prevent the formation of wrinkles. Thin cotton socks store moisture in the fiber, rub against the skin and promote the appearance of small wounds.
Another of the indispensable elements that must form part of the team of the experienced practitioner is the pulse meter, which allows to control the heart rate during training and, consequently, to avoid possible overloads, as well as the too light loads. The range of heart rate measuring devices is numerous and varied. Check with the specialist shops and choose the one that best suits your needs.