Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Question and Answer: Shin Splints

Q: Dear Fat Butt:

I have a question or two about walking. First, you say a brisk walk. I walk a 20-minutes mile. I just can't seem to do brisk for any length of time. When I do, my legs in the front hurt, the little muscles just on the outside of the shinbone. Stretching doesn't seem to help. When I stick with my 20-minute pace all is well, but I don't feel like I'm making the most out of my time and very little, if any, weight reduction is forthcoming with this sedate pace. Running doesn't seem to hurt but since I am not in good shape, running for any longer than 1 minute isn't very feasible. I haven't seen a doctor about my legs. I was just starting to see a doctor regularly, and I only went once, then we moved and I haven't found a personal doctor for me yet. Suggestions? Also, it is snowy here now and I don't go outside so I am starting (again) my Walk Away the Pounds videos. So any suggestions I will gladly try...when the snow melts and I won't freeze when I step outside.


Snowed-In in Iowa

A: Dear Snowed-In

As I always do, first talk to your doctor. When you find a new Doctor where you live, talk to him or her about shin splints. The doctor may refer you to a Physical Therapist or medication might be appropriate.

Walking Mileage
Your mile walking time, is not bad. If a 20 minute mile is the pain threshold, then do go any faster. The last thing you want to do is aggravate a problem and turn it into an injury. I am not sure how far your walks are but I will assume they are about 1 mile in distance. Try walking 2 miles 3 times a week instead.

Even though the stretching does not appear to be helping, keep doing it before and after anyway. If the muscle become tight, the pain will only get worse. Stiff muscles can later lead to injury.

Exercise That Muscle
Last there is an exercise you can try that will help strengthen this muscle. As the muscle becomes stronger, you should be able to do longer and faster walks. Basically it is what they call "toe lifts". Stand flat footed and then lift up onto your tip-toes. You want to do a modified toe lift. Instead of standing on lat ground, do it on a stair so that your heel actually becomes lower than the rest of your foot. then lift up on your toes. Only do about 10 of these 3 time. do this exercise on days you are not walking. So walk one day and do toe raises the next.

Walking For Fitness Or Weight Loss
Anytime you take up a walking program, remember to slowly increase your mileage by no more than 10% per week. Walking is most effective when you walk at least every other day, daily if possible. Taking a break is important to allow your body to rest. Weekends are the best time for me to do this. Weight loss through exercise must also come with a proper diet. Cut down on calories, particularly fats. Make sure you eat enough proteins, fruits and vegetables.


Fat Butt

Today's Activity
I walked 2 miles during lunch and I actually feel great! It took 27 minutes, so not to bad. Assuming I can keep up the pace, I could do a 5k in about 40 minutes. I'm going to try and cut that down. So that is 2 miles for the day and week, 5 miles for the month.

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