beach walkWalking is a tremendously healthy activity. It improves circulations, strengthens the immune system, aids more restful sleep, enhances cognitive abilities and more. But for people who may be recovering from an injury or suffering from arthritis, walking can be difficult. Choosing the right walking surface is an important part of mitigating pain and making the walking experience more enjoyable.

Every ground surface has its own unique challenges, from its hardness, to its pitch or elevation, to its stability. Walking on a cambered road for example, can put added pressure on one leg due to the slant of the pavement. Walking on a hard surface such as concrete can add extra shock with each foot step. To illustrate this point, Runner’s World ranked the following surfaces on a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) in terms of walkability.

  • Grass – 9.5
  • Wood chips – 9
  • Dirt – 8
  • Cinder track – 7.5
  • Track – 7
  • Treadmill – 6.5
  • Asphalt – 6
  • Sand – 4
  • Snow – 2.5

Next time you reach for your pedometer consider where your walk will take you. If you feel pain or soreness in muscles or joints, there is a chance that your walking surface was less than ideal. It’s a good idea to change up your route to experience different walking surfaces. This will strengthen your lower extremities and help you adapt to more challenging walks in the future.


Walking wellness