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My Muscles Get Stiff After Walking Short Distances

author image Heather Topham Wood
Heather Topham Wood is a seasoned writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including USA Today, Gadgetell, Feel Rich and Step in Style. Heather is a published novelist with six Amazon bestsellers and a contract through Crescent Moon Press. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from TCNJ.
My Muscles Get Stiff After Walking Short Distances
Woman walking with her family Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

When walking causes stiff muscles after only a short distance, an underlying condition is typically the cause. In the case where symptoms persist as you continue your walking routine, contact your doctor. He might wish to screen you for medical conditions such as arthritis and gout depending on any other symptoms you are experiencing. Inform the doctor whether the stiffness occurs only during exercise or at other times throughout the day.

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Muscle stiffness during walking can also be caused by your previous workout. A condition known as delayed onset muscle soreness causes pain and tightness approximately 24 to 48 hours after a taxing cardio or strength training workout. Symptoms typically start to fade after three days and do not last longer than a week. Resting the muscles during this time period may alleviate symptoms.

Time Frame

Shin pain and tightness is most likely to occur at the beginning of your walk, according to the Walking Site. To relieve muscle stiffness, walk at a slow pace for a short distance before you move at your normal speed. Your shoes should be flexible with a supportive heel. Avoid concrete surfaces when you walk because that might put too much stress on the shins.


Stretching before you walk can be helpful in reducing muscle stiffness. Stretching eases tension and warms up the muscles in preparation for exercise. Spend five to 10 minutes before walking performing moves such as heel raises, lunges and hamstring stretches.


Don’t stop walking altogether if you feel stiffness during exercise. Conditions like arthritis actually benefit from walking by strengthening muscles and joints. When you are inactive, muscle stiffness tends to worsen. Your doctor may advise to instead start out with short and slow walks. For instance, walk at a speed of 1 mph for five minutes the first week. Each consecutive week, increase the speed and time of your walk.

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