Tips on Walking for Exercise from our PT
Are you wanting to do some more walking for exercise? Optimus physical therapist, Andrea Kinsinger provides these valuable tips for those wanting to exercise more by walking.
- Socket Fit. Be sure your socket fits well. Add or delete socks as needed to get the most comfortable fit possible. As always, your limb should be all the way down into your socket but not resting on or crushing the end of your limb.
- Assistive device. If you walk with “a limp” this will only get worse as you fatigue. Consider adding a cane in the hand opposite your prosthesis to even out your gait and provide support.
- Begin slowly. Give your body time to adapt to the increased demands you're putting on it. If you've been inactive for several years, begin with as little as 10 minutes walking per day, five or six days per week. Slowly increase the time you walk by 5 minutes per week until you can walk 30 minutes per day, six days per week.
- Find the right pace. There is no right speed to walk--there is only a right speed for you. The pace that's right for you is the pace you can sustain for 10 minutes at a time, gradually building up to 30 minutes. You may be breathing deeply, but not out of breath or gasping for air.
- Chart a course. When you're just getting started, the time you spend walking is more important than the distance you cover, but it can be comforting to know where you're going and fun to track where you've been. Consider a tool like GMap Pedometer. Whether you're at home or on vacation, you can use this application to map a route using Google maps.
- Track your progress. Tracking your progress makes you more likely to hit your target. Keeping a log of your workouts gives you concrete proof that you're doing what you set out to do, and that you're making steady progress toward your goal.
- Skin checks. Always, always check your skin after walking – both your residual limb and your sound side foot. Watch for redness that lasts for longer than 10 min, blisters, and rubs. Contact your prosthetist if any of these occur and discontinue distance walking until this has been addressed.
Andrea Kinsinger is a licensed Physical Therapist. She received her BS in Physical Therapy in 1986 from Bowling Green State University and the Medical College of Ohio. Andrea has worked with lower extremity amputee patients throughout her career and loves coaching amputees through the process to return to an independent and active life. She also works with area therapists offering expertise and education in gait biomechanics and rehabilitation to facilitate an optimal outcome for our patients at Optimus.