FEELING GREAT: Walking on flat even surfaces is much better for your joints

OK, so the sun is out. It’s warm and what more do you want other than to get outside and get some fresh air?

Even if you’re just regularly walking on a hilly or gravelly surface, make sure you’re wearing the right walking boots.
Even if you’re just regularly walking on a hilly or gravelly surface, make sure you’re wearing the right walking boots.

I’ve seen so many runners around the town of late, plenty of people out on their bikes and more walking.

The great outdoors. I love it.

Don’t forget if you are doing a little bit more than just walking on a flat surface, then the advice my physio team always give our clients in that footwear choice has to be more sturdy.

With that in mind, here’s a nice little story for you. A few years ago I took a walk up a mountain called Toubkal, in Morocco. At 4,167 meters above sea level it’s the highest mountain in North Africa and to conquer it I had no option but to choose comfort and safety over style and opt for proper mountain climbing boots. And you should too - even if you’re not climbing mountains in North Africa, but are just regularly walking on a hilly or gravelly surface, you should make sure you’re wearing the right walking boots.

Now, have you got a pen handy? Because I want you to make a note of this next tip that I’ve got for you, which might save you some frustration and some money.

If you’re ever purchasing a pair of walking shoes, the best time to try them on in the shop is late morning or mid-afternoon. Why? Because your feet swell up during the day and if you go and get fitted for shoes first thing in the morning, you might not get an accurate fit and end up buying a pair that seemed to fit perfectly in the shop, but are actually just a bit too tight when you put them on. And that’s not good for both comfort and blood circulation to your ankle joint.

We’re nearly finished walking - or talking about walking at least! - but before we do, one final thing to note on the topic of walking: if you’re already suffering from something like a bad or stiff lower back, or have arthritic knees, it’s best to avoid hilly and uneven surfaces completely.

For all of the good reasons I’ve already written about, walking on these surfaces makes it more likely that you’ll have a more swollen knee, or an even stiffer lower back due to the extra pressure, stress and demands placed on your body.

To sum up: walking on flat, even surfaces is much healthier for your joints and will likely limit any problems enough to allow you to enjoy your walking for years to come.