Walking. A day-to-day movement which you literally may do thousands of times each and every day. We start when we’re toddlers and continue through the entire lifespan. We even wear watches now to count our steps, with 10,000 steps being the average daily target many are striving for.
So, since walking is such a common activity, relatively low impact movement and something our body is ingrained to do, do we need to bother to stretch after it? Absolutely! Read on to find out exactly why.
To create any movement with your body, even something as simple as walking, you have to contract different muscles to make your limbs move. So, for the analytical types amongst us, let’s breakdown what muscles are used to help you take just one step.
As you step forward, your muscles in the front of your hip contract to swing your leg forward. At the same time, your toes lift up thanks to the muscle along the side of your shin. As your heel strikes the ground to land, your glutes (buttock muscle) engage and with the help of your calf muscle, pushes you through to the next step. Also, during the time where your foot goes from heel hitting the ground to toe pushing back off, the small muscles of your feet have to contract to keep you balanced on whatever surface you may be on. That’s a lot of work! And all of this is just one single step. Now multiply this by 10,000. That is a huge amount of lot of load and effort from the muscles of legs to simply just walk.
Whenever any muscle contracts, it is slightly shortening (or tightening). Now imagine all those hip, leg, shin and foot muscles contracting over and over again – to the tune of 10,000 plus times per day. All of those muscles will tighten unless you can reset them. It doesn’t matter how fit you are or how strong you are, 70,000 repetitions per week of any movement will get fatigued, tired and stiff if not looked after. Just think about it this way – imagine doing 70,000 push-ups in a week! You wouldn’t be able to use your arms!!
A simple stretch routine of calves, hamstrings, glutes and hips every other day will help your walking muscles feel better and have you getting through those 70,000 steps a week with much more comfort and much less injury risk.
However, using assisted stretch therapy, like the stretching offered at The Stretch Specialist, is different from stretching at home and yields faster and longer lasting results.
Remember, your feet and legs are your gateway to exploring the world and doing many of the things you love. So whatever way you choose to look after them, it makes sense to give them a little help, so they keep helping you.
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