With September upon us now, many people have decided to partake in the challenge and increase their overall daily steps. However there are a few important considerations when you are looking to increase your steps to ensure that it is done safely and without sustaining an injury.
How many steps were you doing before?
While hopefully this should be common sense, when setting yourself daily step targets make sure to consider what an average day would look like for you. If you walk between 2000-3000 steps then jumping straight up to 10000 steps can be a large change for the body. Research indicates that if you increase your difficulty by no more than 10%, then your likelihood of sustaining an injury is much lower. It is important not to increase by 10% each day, but rather each week. Using the example above, if you take between 2000-3000 steps per day, a sensible target to aim for would be 3300 steps. This allows our body the necessary time to adapt and therefore ensures that the body is challenged but not overloaded.
Look after your muscles
If you are increasing your steps every day, and have previously only exercised 1-2 times a week it is important to look after the health of your foot and leg muscles. At the end of each day, it can be relaxing to roll a small ball underneath the bottom of the foot to try and improve the movement of the fluid in the feet and look after the health of the connective tissues. In addition to this, stretching and moving out the feet and leg muscles can help them to recover which will make it easier to exercise the next day.
Change your walking surface
It is also important to give your body and particularly your feet some variety. Where it is safe to do so, try to walk on a variety of different surfaces such as grass parks or ovals, and even bush tracks. Walking on concrete surfaces all the time can be very hard on the muscles around the foot and ankle area which splint to dampen the impact forces. Impact forces are much lower on grass and bush tracks and as a result the muscles don’t have to work quite so hard. Not only this, but walking on different surfaces is healthy for your balance as the surfaces can often have some variations in their level.
Don’t forget, if you have any concerns with balance and don’t feel safe to walk outside to get your step count up you can always follow along with our Wednesday Facebook classes which are specifically aimed at getting your step count up within the comfort of your house. We look forward to supporting you on your journey towards more movement throughout Steptember.