August 8, 2012
Topic: Injury prevention
The Summer Olympics may inspire Americans to take an interest in activities they may never have thought twice about. Between amateurs looking to get in shape and former marathon runners, powerwalking - which is related to Olympic race walking - may sound attractive.
Both powerwalking and race walking involve landing on the heels and rolling to the toes, according to Reuters. Unlike jogging or running, at least one foot is touching the ground at all times. The real calorie-burning takes place as athletes take fast strides.
One benefit for both amateur athletes and older individuals who used to run is that this activity has a much lower impact on the joints than high-intensity sports.
However, some caution and injury prevention measures are needed. For example, people with weight management issues need to be careful not to overexert themselves.
"If you're 250 pounds and have never walked, knees may be sore, back may be sore, ankles may be sore," said Dixie Thompson of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, quoted by Reuters.
Other experts suggest investing in good athletic shoes and, if necessary, undergoing a gait analysis to make sure one has good form.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons also recommends that walkers warm up and cool down by walking at a normal speed for five minutes before and after their routine, respectively. Gentle stretching after a trip is also helpful.
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