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Is Walking for Exercise Every Day OK for Joints and Muscles?

Should you take days off from walking exercise? It may depend if where you’re getting any aches and pains says our personal trainer, here’s her advice

Is Walking for Exercise Every Day OK for Joints and Muscles?

Answered by wlr Personal Trainer Carla van Traa REPS L4

Full Question

(from wlr member sharon123)

I have been walking for around 5 miles every day. I started this several months ago (building up from 20 mins 3 times a week).

My legs ache now as there are a few up-hills and down-hills on my walk. I walk pretty fast too. As it is so boring at home, I really do rely on the routine of going out for my walk to break the day up and I hate exercising indoors.

But, should I take a couple of days off from exercise? Walking is not particularly heavy on the joints so I assume walking 5 miles EVERY day will do me no harm?

Advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Carla’s Answer

Walking is fantastic especially at this time, for physical and mental health, plus as Spring progresses a chance to start topping up the vitamin D at last!

Achy legs, a couple of questions. Achy joints or achy muscles? Upper leg or lower leg or bum?

If it’s your joints then that is harder to address, resting will help, walking on softer surfaces will ease the impact, correct footwear and decent thick socks.

If it’s your muscles, then - aching before and during your walk or just after?

After will be an indicator of fatigue, which is a good sign as long as you’re not overdoing it, muscles repair and strengthen in the rest periods.

During? Try varying your speeds, a mix up of medium and fast. Mix up your stride length too, short and long even throw in some lunges too maybe?

If it’s the same route every time, can you do it the other way round?

The other thing that popped into my head is that low magnesium can lead to muscle aches.

5 miles every day is absolutely fine, if its fine with you.

Stretching / yin yoga / Pilates could help with the relax stage for you and your muscles at any time of day. Don't think of it as exercise. Think of it as immunity-building!

Enjoy your walks Sharon. Stay safe


Response from Sharon 123

My legs ache and it’s muscular, it’s my thighs and bum. But, I consider that good as they are my problem areas and I really want them to tone up as I lose weight.

Fantastic advice thank you. I never thought of reversing the route. Think I could do that on days I’m a bit tired as it’s mostly downhill on the reverse of my walks. Plus I could try some Pilates online on the days I feel I cannot walk. Good idea!

Carla’s Follow-up

Here is a link to some excellent free Pilates . I've linked to the beginners page but there are lots of options. Pilates is about precision not repetitions. Enjoy the down time, even 10 minutes a day will help, try before your walk to loosen you up and then maybe same again later in the day to help stretch you out again.

I forgot to say, Epsom Salt baths can really help with achy muscles, it’s the magnesium thing again!

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