Put the Pedal to the Pavement on April 3 and Walk to Work During National Walk to Work Day

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The California Podiatric Medical Association is kicking off April’s National Foot Health Awareness Month by urging Californians to take the first step to a healthier, longer life by taking part in National Walk to Work Day on April 3

California Podiatric Medical Association

Your feet shouldn't hurt

“The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.” – Charles Dickens

A baby’s first step - beginning the journey on the path to independence - is a milestone and occasion for joyous celebration! Human beings are designed for walking, and for the majority of modern human’s existence it has been the primary mode of transportation. These days, however, hectic, pressure packed lives, with not a moment to spare for recreation or formal exercise, combined with desk oriented jobs has lead to ever more sedentary lifestyles. Furthermore, inactivity has been increasingly engineered into everyday life with hours sitting behind the wheels of cars during hour(s) long commutes to elevators, escalators, airport people-movers, remote controls, riding lawn mowers, leaf-blowers, electric toothbrushes, and robotic vacuum cleaners, but research is showing that all this automation is bad for one’s health. Physical inactivity is a serious risk factor for premature death, similar to the risk from smoking.1

On the other hand, research also shows that being physically active helps control blood pressure and blood sugar and lowers bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol. It lowers the risk of heart attacks and stroke, developing type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Exercise helps control weight, improves bone and joint health, and builds stronger muscles.2

In 1994 the US Department of Health and Human Services designated the first Friday in April as Walk to Work Day in an effort to get Americans to incorporate more exercise in their daily lives.

“Today we’re spending more time at work sitting at a desk and in front of a screen than ever before. We're becoming less active, which can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other diseases. Physical activity doesn't need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life. National Walk to Work Day is a great occasion to begin to get up and move,” says California Podiatric Medical Association President Thomas J. Elardo, DPM, a podiatric physician and surgeon in private practice in Los Gatos, located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley.

“Walking is just about the easiest, least expensive way to get and stay physically fit,” says Dr. Elardo.

“Just about anyone can do it, and the only gear needed is a good pair of properly fitting walking shoes. Since shoes are the only equipment you’ll need, pay close attention to the fit and quality of the shoes. Shoes should fit when you try them on with no pinching or pressure that could lead to friction and result in painful rub spots, blisters, corns, or calluses, which are no joke. When trying on shoes bring a pair of the type of socks to be worn with them, and if you wear orthotics bring them, also. Since feet swell throughout the day, try on shoes in the afternoon. Try on both shoes and walk around the store. Your feet are rarely identical in size, so buy shoes for the larger of the two. Shoes should have good arch support and a slightly elevated heel with stiff material to support the heel when walking and to prevent wobbling which can result in injury to both the foot and ankle.

“Foot and ankle injuries should never be neglected. Medical attention should be sought right away from a podiatric physician,” Elardo concluded.

The California Podiatric Medical Association offers these additional tips to participate in Walk to Work Day:

  • If you can't walk all the way, use public transport and get off the bus or train a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way to work.
  • If you need to drive, try to leave the car a mile from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
  • Instead of holding meetings sitting down, try to hold "walking workshops".
  • Take a half-hour walk at lunchtime.
  • Where possible, use the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator.
  • If you sit a lot at work, remember to get up and walk around at least once every hour. Get up and talk to your colleagues instead of sending them emails.

April is also National Foot Health Awareness Month. This year’s theme is “Play it Safe”, and the podiatric physician members of the California Podiatric Medical Association will be providing information focusing on the prevention of foot and ankle injuries while exercising and playing sports. Specializing in the treatment of the foot and ankle, podiatric physicians are recognized experts in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries, diseases and deformities of the foot and ankle. To find a licensed podiatric physician nearby visit CalPMA.org.

Founded in 1912, the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) is the leading and recognized professional organization for doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). DPMs are podiatric physicians and surgeons, also known as podiatrists, qualified by their education, training and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and structures of the leg.

1 The pandemic of physical inactivity: global action for public health Lancet. 2012 Jul 21;380(9838):p294-305. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60898-8.http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2812%2960898-8/abstract

2 The Deadliest Sin, Harvard Magazine
Survival of the fittest to staying fit just to survive: scientists probe the benefits of exercise — and the dangers of sloth.
http://harvardmagazine.com/2004/03/the-power-of-exercise

Benefits of Walking, by Tommy Boone, PhD, MPH, FASEP, EPC
http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/exercise/benefits-of-walking.htm

Why Walk, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/nationalhealthyworksite/docs/walking_pocket_guide.pdf

This Is Your Body on Walking, Devon Rutz, Prevention Magazine January 8, 2015 http://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/health-benefits-walking

Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Walking - A Great Place to Start!, American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/types-of-activity/walking-a-great-place-to-start.html

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