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Question
Posted by: Bubbly | 2006/07/20

Swollen Hands

Dear Doc
I love walking as a form of excercise. I do between 5 and 7km at a time. I find my fingers swell up so much that I can bearly make a fist. I do carry water with me and sip as I go. How can I prevent my fingers puffing up? I'm 49 yrs old and very healthy.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Dear Bubbly,

Walking in general does not cause fingers to swell, however, drinking too much fluid can cause this problem and swollen fingers are a common sign of fluid overload.

In general, you should not need to continually sip water during a 5-7 km walk, as your body has adequate fluid reserves to sustain your fluid needs for that distance. Bend your elbows about 90 degrees and swing them naturally to assist veous return to your heart.

Drinking too much fluid during exercise can severely dilute body sodium levels to dangerously low levels - causing death in some cases - so drink only when you are thirsty and leave the water bottle at home or in your car for when you finish.

Good luck

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