In the past, people diagnosed with neuropathy used to be told not to exercise at all, but the advice has changed its tune in favor of gentle movement. Whether you’re dealing with neuropathy or another chronic pain condition, physical activity can help improve blood circulation (which strengthens nerve tissues by increasing the flow of oxygen), improve your mental health, reduce stress, and boost your overall mood.
In this week’s Aromalief’s blog, Annabel has rounded up some tips and recommendations that will help you enjoy your walks and get the most out of them.
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Walking is a wonderful form of exercise that will enhance anyone’s wellbeing, but it’s particularly important for people who have neuropathy—a pain condition that can result in weakness, numbness, and pain from nerve damage, especially in the feet. This Neuropathy and Walking blog post can help to get your New Year’s Resolution off to a good start.
If you struggle with this condition, you’ve probably been wondering if walking will improve or worsen your pain. While people diagnosed with neuropathy used to be told not to exercise at all, the advice has definitely changed its tune in favor of gentle movement.
According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise, such as walking three times a week, can reduce neuropathy pain and improve muscle strength. Physical activity, such as walking, can also help improve blood circulation, which strengthens nerve tissues by increasing the flow of oxygen. Taking a stroll around your neighborhood or in nature is also an excellent way to improve your mental health, reduce stress, and boost your overall mood.
With the New Year upon us, it’s a great time to set a goal of getting out for a walk three times a week. To make your walking experience as pleasurable and pain free as possible, we’ve rounded up some tips and recommendations that will help you enjoy your walks and get the most out of them.
Selecting the right type of shoe can have a big impact on your level of pain when walking. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) suggests wearing shoes with silica gel or air midsoles for weight-bearing activities like walking because they are designed to reduce stress on your feet and joints.
It’s also important to ensure that your shoes are wide and large enough. Wearing shoes that are too snug can increase your susceptibility to triggering pressure points which, in turn, can increase pain. Give your feet a little room to wiggle and breathe.
A great shoe brand for walking are Brooks. I use the Brooks Glycerin because they have the most amount of cushion of pretty much any shoe that I have tried making it easier for may knees and lower back. You can try other’s in their line that are also good.
Drinking enough water is universal health advice, but it’s especially important for people who have neuropathy. Water plays a crucial role in nerve function. When dehydrated, nerve function is disrupted, which can lead to a feeling of pain along damaged nerves. Water also helps reduce toxin buildup and inflammation levels—two things that can increase your pain.
Looking for a good water bottle to carry on your walks? Try this one. It’s BPA free and even has motivational time markers to encourage you to get your water in! At 64oz it can help you stay hydrated all day.
Compression socks, sleeves, and leggings are a wonderful tool to help manage your symptoms of neuropathy while walking. While nerve damage generally can’t be reversed, compression clothing can help protect the health of your feet and relieve pain.
Compression clothing works by applying pressure to your affected legs, feet, or hands. This pressure stimulates circulation and keeps your blood flowing in the right direction.
Try Aromalief’s Foot Compression Socks or knee brace to keep your symptoms at bay and support your body while walking. For leggings, I personally really like compression pants from Old Navy and Victoria’s Secret. Look for them with Side Pockets to keep your phone handy on your walk.
This isn’t a race or competition—give yourself permission to ease into your new walking routine and go at a pace that feels comfortable to you. Start with walking a quarter of a mile. Do that for a week, and if that feels good to you, increase your distance to a half a mile. Continue this process until you reach a level that feels right for your individual circumstance. If you haven’t walked in a long time, you can start even slower. Just go at your own pace, listen to your body, and be kind to yourself throughout the process. You’re doing something great for your body and you should be proud of yourself.
Write it in your calendar, agency, or even put a post it note to make sure that you remember to walk. Walking is a wonderful way to support your overall health and reduce your symptoms of neuropathy. Take it slow, stay hydrated, wear good footwear, and enjoy the fresh air. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you!