Walking is one of the most beneficial exercises that you can do as a senior. Not only is it easy on the joints, but it’s an excellent way to relieve stress, build muscle, and keep unwanted pounds at bay. It’s also an exercise you can do almost anywhere and any time of the year, making it a great option for older adults on a budget or who need to exercise indoors due to less than ideal weather.
While walking comes at the right price (free) it’s important to invest in a good pair of walking shoes to ensure your joints stay healthy. In fact, a good pair of shoes can do more than optimize your health during walks. They can also help prevent falls and keep the spine healthy.
Here are shoe buying suggestions for seniors, to keep you a step ahead when it comes to your health.
- Invest in a Good Pair. According Dr. Cary Zinkin, DPM, it’s best to invest in a pair of quality walking shoes rather than buying them at the bargain store. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning on walking miles in the shoes or wearing them to run errands – Dr. Zinkin says it’s essential for older adults to always wear well-made shoes from a reputable brand. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to heel pain, especially for seniors, because as we age we lose the padding in the soles of our feet.
- Consider Running Shoes (even if you don’t run). Running shoes are designed to give the foot more all over support than most walking shoes, so they’re ideal for older adults – even if you’re not planning to run a marathon. Running shoes are sturdy and offer cushioning that can help prevent injuries. Buy your shoes from a store that specializes in the sale of running shoes. Usually, these stores are staffed by experts who can help you chose the best shoes to fit your feet.
- Use Inserts. Many podiatrists recommend seniors that add inserts to their shoes for motion control. This is especially important for seniors who are overweight, have high arches, or flat feet because it helps provide additional support and prevents the heel from “rolling.” Podiatrists recommend that seniors use extra soft inserts by a brand approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).
- Wait Until the End of the Day. Podiatrists will often tell their patients to wait until the end of the day to try on shoes – and that’s for good reason: Our feet swell during the day, so if you try on and purchase your shoes in the morning, they may run tight by the evening. Note: You still may want to leave a little room if you have bunions, toe nail pain, or arthritis.
- Avoid Backless Shoes. Crocs may be comfortable and clogs may be in fashion, but they’re bad news for aging backs because they offer limited support. They’ll also make heel pain and issues like plantar fasciitis worse.
The first step for ensuring your health as a walker and throughout the day is to invest in the right shoes. They’ll last a long time – and they’ll help you maintain your good health longer, too. Happy walking!