For tension release or weight loss and fitness, more and more Utahns are turning from jogging or running to walking. According to the state's podiatrists, it's a step in the right direction.

Dr. Scott McKay, president of the Utah Podiatric Medical Association, says walking provides all of the physical and emotional benefits of jogging or running without such undesireable side effects as possible damage to the feet and legs.But because walking is so different from jogging, he said walkers should be sure they have the proper footwear and foot care.

"Walking is a natural exercise," he said. "But gopd walking shoes are quite different from the running shoes we're accustomed to seeing, and good selections of them are appearing in shoe stores. They should feature very firm heel cups, with reduced cushion, to position the heel closer to the ground for walking stability."

McKay said socks should also fit well, and walking shoes should be allowed to air dry between uses. Corns or ingrown toenails should be treated before beginning a walking program.

During National Foot Health Month in May, podiatrists can provide more detailed information to anyone considering a walking program.