According to the 2022-23 UK Fitness Report from PureGym, London has a larger proportion of gym members (18%) than any other region of the UK. That makes Londoners ‘the nation’s most active gym-going population’. So if you have a London gym membership or are planning to get one, you’re in good company!
Our London podiatrists are firm believers in the power of exercise to help ensure your feet are strong and supple, as well as enhance your overall physical and mental health. Gyms can be ideal places to exercise, as they have the facilities and equipment you need to be active in all sorts of ways, from running on the treadmill to taking spinning classes.
Because your feet play a vital role in exercise, it makes sense to learn how to look after them properly at the gym. Read on for our helpful guide to gym-related foot health. It covers everything from how to avoid foot problems to boosting your performance during workouts.
Choose the Right Footwear for Your Needs
First of all, you’ll want to make sure that you wear suitable shoes in the correct size for your gym sessions. So it’s a good idea to visit a sports shop that has plenty of choice and offers a professional measuring and fitting service.
The type of trainers you need for the gym will depend on the forms of exercise you want to focus on. For example, if you love pounding the treadmill, well-cushioned, shock-absorbing, supportive running shoes are likely to be the best option. Weightlifting shoes are firm with built-up heels – they’ll help you to perform deeper squats. Always tie shoelaces securely, otherwise they may be a trip hazard or get caught on gym equipment.
Another tip is to inspect your gym shoes regularly, looking for signs of wear. Once footwear is past its best, it should be replaced as soon as possible to help you avoid sprains, strains, calluses, etc.
Finding the right gym socks matters too. Look for what are known as moisture-wicking socks. Often made from Merino wool, they draw sweat away from your feet and encourage it to evaporate, instead of getting soggy and increasing your chances of experiencing chafing and blisters.
Book a Biomechanical Assessment
When you want to boost your performance at the gym and take care of your feet, a biomechanical assessment at one of our well-equipped London podiatry clinics can be invaluable. We’ll carefully check how well your bones, muscles and joints work when you’re standing still and being active.
Computerised gait scanning, which helps us to identify foot problems and related issues, is an important part of the assessment process. For example, gait analysis might indicate that the pressure on your soles isn’t distributed evenly or that your feet and ankles aren’t aligned properly.
Those kinds of issues can be corrected with the aid of treatments such as prescription orthotics – tailor-made insoles that are specially designed to support your feet. So you can exercise more comfortably and to the best of your ability.
Protect Your Feet in Gym Changing Rooms
One drawback of going to the gym is that there may be bacteria and other nasties lurking in areas such as communal changing rooms and showers.
As a result, we wouldn’t recommend going barefoot at the gym. When getting changed or showering, protect your feet with non-slip shower shoes. If you have any areas of broken skin on your feet, cover them with waterproof plasters or dressings. Don’t borrow or lend socks or towels. These steps will help you to avoid developing athlete’s foot and verrucae (two highly contagious problems) and other infections.
Always Warm Up and Cool Down
At the gym, it can be tempting to go hell for leather on the exercise bike, say. But to avoid foot injuries, pulled leg muscles and other issues, it’s best to complete a warm up, increase speed and intensity gradually during the main part of your workout, and finish with a cool down routine.
Qualified, Experienced London Podiatrists
You can rely on Feet By Pody to help you look after your feet, resolve foot problems and keep on moving at the gym and elsewhere.
Why not book an appointment at one of our London foot clinics today?