Walking comfortable without stiffness

How do I make sure I am not too stiff to keep walking?

Jun 13, 2022

The above question is frequently asked by our clients who are keen to get back to their previous activity level but are concerned about possible adverse effects of overdoing it. Muscle stiffness is common after an injury as rest can positively allow tissue to heal but on the latter can shorten  muscle length and lead to weakening of our core muscle groups/lower limb muscles. The following tips will aid you on restoring your previous strength and flexibility to get you out walking no time!

 

Warm up first

One of the most important things to do first is slowly warm up your muscles before heading out for a walk. Stretching first thing when the muscles are ‘cold’ can lead to strains so instead try swinging your legs and arms in rotations until you feel everything become looser. 

 

Yoga

A fantastic way to start the day is practising yoga either from home or joining a local class. Yoga involves slow movements that over time increase your muscle length and encourages deeper breathing. This will greatly help reduce exercise induced stiffness and increase your confidence in returning to walking at a pace that you could walk comfortably before.

 

Pilates 

As mentioned above, too much rest after an injury can lead to muscle atrophy (weakening/loss of muscle mass). Pilates is the perfect way to stay in shape after an injury when safe to do so. This exercise increases toning and strength throughout your body which will enable you to increase your volume of walking and endurance. It is important to go to a Pilates class if you are new to this as reviewing your form is essential to ensure the exercises are giving maximum benefit.

 

Cool down exercises

 After your walk it is beneficial to set aside 5-10 minutes to relax your muscles, stretch and practice slow controlled breathing. This will allow your muscles to recover properly and prevent stiffening by slowly returning the body’s core temperature/breathing to normal resting state. It will also benefit your next walk and reduce the chance of waking up the next morning with the same degree of stiffness as the day before. Sitting and being inactive straight after a walk is not recommended as muscles adapt to their shortest functional length, leading to stiffness on standing up again.

 

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