Your feet may sustain the bulk of the burden, but walking is a whole-body job that requires muscular strength, flexibility, and balance — from the tips of your toes to the top of your back. So brace yourself with these supplemental exercises to support your walking demands:
Avoid shin splints by strengthening the anterior tibialis muscle. Stand with your heels on the edge of a step, toes hanging off. Flex your toes for a 2-second count, then release. Repeat 10 times. Turn around and drop your heels off the edge for toe raises, which engage the calves.
Strengthening your feet may reduce your risk for falling. To work the tops and bottoms, place a hand towel on the floor and grip one edge with your toes. Slowly scrunch up the towel, moving the fabric in toward your body until it’s entirely retracted.
Leg squats use your own weight to stabilize and tone your hips, butt, quads, and hamstrings. Change the standard squat with variations like standing with your back against the wall and lowering yourself into a virtual chair, holding for a few seconds before rising again. Challenge yourself even more by perching your knee on a chair behind you with the other in front. Lower yourself to a 90-degree angle before standing.