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Is walking the ultimate form of exercise?
Women and men lower their risk of death by 39%, just by taking a daily stroll. As far as mental benefits go, walking can increase your creative abilities by as much as 60% or more!
If you want to be healthier and happier, it’s clear that walking is the way to go. However, if you’re recovering from an injury, or experiencing limited mobility, it can be tricky putting one foot in front of the other.
To help you out, we’ve created this guide all about learning how to walk with a cane. So take a look! By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll be ready to start walking with a cane today.
Explore the Different Types of Canes
Start by considering what type of handle you want your cane to have. Buying a cane is an incredibly personal experience since your cane is something that should reflect your personality. If you don’t want to have a traditional walking cane, you’ll be happy to know there’s a wide variety of options to choose from.
For instance, there are all sorts of cane handles available ranging from traditional grips to intricate dragon heads, or sword handles. Take a moment to learn more about the different styles of cane so you can pick one that suits your personality and needs. Once you know what type of cane you want to use, the next step is to practice holding it the right way.
Holding a Cane
Discovering the right way to hold your cane is the first step in learning how to properly walk with a cane. Whether you’re recovering from an injury, or just using your cane to increase your mobility, the same rules will apply for cane holding. You’ll need to hold the head of the cane with your fingers and palms.
If the grip of the cane is too large, it’ll be difficult for you to maintain your balance. Whereas if the grip is too small, it can wind up pressing uncomfortably into your hand. Instead, the grip should fit comfortably in your hand, and not feel slippery.
Another thing to consider when you’re learning how to walk with a cane is the height of your cane. Before you commit to using any 1 style of cane, make sure the length works with your body. To check, simply stand up tall with your arms at your side. While wearing your shoes, check to see if the cane comes up to meet your wrist in a comfortable position.
When you find a cane with the right length, you’ll be able to hold your elbows at a 20-degree angle, and the grip of the cane will meet your wrist. Typically, a good cane length will be about half as tall as you are.
The problem with getting a cane that’s too short is that you won’t be able to maintain proper posture. Short canes force the user to bend over, which can cause all sorts of injuries to your spine and side. Whereas a cane with the right height will help you get the support and mobility you need.
Leg Injury Recovery Tips
Are you using a cane because one of your legs isn’t as strong as the other one? Whether you’re recovering from surgery, or you have a leg that tends to be stiff, you’ll need to know what side to hold the cane on.
While it may seem strange, you should be holding the cane on the side of your stronger leg. Why? When you walk, your arms naturally swing. When you step forward with your left foot, your left arm swings, and vice versa.
Let’s say you have an injury on your left side. When you step forward with your injured left leg, your right arm will be holding the cane as it swings forward.
Now the right arm will have the cane to help provide extra mobility as the injured left leg moves. It may feel awkward at first. However, after taking 10-20 steps with the cane on your strong side, you’ll notice a big difference.
Using a Cane for Stairs
Now let’s look at the best tips for using a cane when you’re going up or down a set of stairs. Always use the handrail on the staircase for support. You’ll need to put your cane in whatever hand isn’t holding the handrail. Next, take the first step with your stronger leg.
After taking the first step, lift the other leg and your cane simultaneously so that they meet up with your stronger leg. Repeat this process as you make your way up the stairs. When it’s time to come down the stairs, the cane goes first. After the cane makes the first step down, have your weaker leg lower down to meet it.
Finally, have your stronger leg meet the weaker leg and cane on the same step. Keep slowly repeating this process of cane, weaker leg, strong leg, until you’re at the base of the stairs.
Remember to always have one hand on the handrail at all times. Once you reach the base of the stairs, resume holding the cane on your stronger side.
Navigating a Curb
Finally, let’s look at how to get up or down a curb with your cane. Standing in front of the curb, check your balance, making sure you’re firm footed and stable. Next, to step up, lift your strong leg first. Lastly, lift your weaker leg, and follow it with the cane.
Going Down a Curb
To go down the curb, have the cane go first. Follow the cane with your weaker leg, and have the strong leg come down last. Regain your balance, and you can be on your way!
Know-How to Walk With a Cane
Learning how to walk with a cane is the ultimate way to retain your independence. However, to get the best results, you’ll first need to make sure you’re buying a cane that fits your body. It’s also equally important that you like the way the cane looks, otherwise, you won’t use it with pride!
Take a few minutes today to look at all of the different types of canes you can buy online. Once you find a cane that speaks to you, order it and begin practicing walking with it at home. For more tips like these, read another article.