Look after your feet first
There’s a reason why our feet are often called the ‘mirror to health’. The condition of our feet can provide an early indicator of common health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and circulatory disease. Early stages of nerve damage can sometimes be identified in your feet.
If you have any concerns about your feet, or want to get some advice before you start walking, the best person to talk to is your podiatrist. You can visit a podiatrist without a referral, and they can talk with you about a range of conditions such as foot pain, footwear advice, nail care or cracked heels.
Another person to talk to about your feet is your shoe seller. If you’re on the hunt for a new pair of walking shoes, make sure the shoes you are considering have a firm, solid sole, and only bend where the foot naturally bends, at the joint of the big toe. The toe box of a shoe should be deep enough to allow room for toes to move and the length of a shoe should be a thumbs width longer than the longest toe (this isn’t always the big toe). Ask about the best way to lace up your shoe – lock lacing can stop your heel from slipping at the back of your shoe.
And finally, make sure you and your group warm up your feet before your walk. A few ankle circles and toe points and flexes will make sure your feet are ready to take you on your next adventure.