According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, walking is a great way to get a variety of health benefits no matter what age you are. At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week is recommended for older adults. But when your feet hurt because you're not wearing the right shoes, walking for exercise or even as a mode of transportation can be unpleasant. Find out more about the importance of the right shoes below and get some tips for selecting the right footwear for you.
In addition to potentially reducing pain and helping you enjoy walking and movement more, the right pair of shoes can also increase safety. When you're wearing shoes that fit right and provide ample support, it decreases your risk of falls and injuries to areas such as the ankles. Good shoes can also reduce the chance of developing issues that might occur if you rely on ill-fitting footwear long term.
Whether you're looking for a pair of trainers so you can shuffle along the walking path in style and comfort or you want a good-looking pair of shoes for daily wear, starting with the shopping tips below can help you find the right fit.
Buying shoes at the wrong time of day can result in a purchase that ends up causing you pain. Your feet tend to expand throughout the day just from use and being in upright positions such as sitting and standing. This can be exacerbated if you have certain chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, or it's especially hot.
Shopping for shoes in the afternoon as opposed to earlier in the day makes it more likely you'll find a pair that fits well all the time.
When trying on shoes, wear the type of socks you plan to wear with the shoes normally. For example, if you're shopping for walking shoes so you can enjoy brisk morning walks on the grounds of Bethesda Gardens assisted living community in Frisco, bring a pair of sports socks with you. Wearing dress socks, which are typically thinner, while trying on walking shoes can result in a fit that's too tight once you add in thicker socks.
When you try on shoes, stand up to see how they fit. When you're sitting, you're not putting full pressure on your foot, so it's not expanding and pushing fully into the shoe. Sometimes, it's only a potential difference of millimeters, but they matter.
Ensure that nothing pinches or feels too tight. You also want between a quarter-inch and half-inch between your longest toe and the front end of the shoe. If your toes are pressing into the front of the shoe, that can become painful and even cause damage to your toes or toenails.
It's also important to note that shoes that don't fit well when you try them on may never fit well. Yes, leather and other materials do stretch a bit as you wear them. But you should never rely on this or buy shoes that pinch in the store based on a belief that you can break them in.
Fit and comfort are huge considerations when buying shoes. But you should also consider overall safety.
Start with the soles of your shoes. Nonslip soles can reduce fall risks and enhance your stability on a variety of surfaces. Look at the tread on the shoes you're buying, especially if you intend to do a lot of walking in them. Good tread helps grip the surfaces you walk across for even better stability.
When possible, opt for closed-heel shoes. These fit more snugly and reduce the chance that shoes might slip off your feet as you move. Lower heels also tend to be safer than higher heels. Flats or shoes with low, blocky heels can reduce the chances that you'll fall or injure an ankle.
The overall material of the shoe matters too. Look for lightweight shoes that don't require as much effort to lift as you walk. Your legs and endurance will thank you if you engage in activities that require a lot of movement because heavy shoes can wear you down over time.
As we age, our footwear needs can become more complex. Custom orthotics and other options can help address a variety of challenges with foot pain or mobility, including abnormal gait. If regular walking shoes aren't meeting your needs, consider working with a podiatrist or other specialist to find shoes that are right for you.
Residents of Bethesda Gardens assisted living community can enjoy on-site podiatry care.
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