Shin splints - those pains that run along the front of the lower leg - are a common malady for beginning runners and race walkers. In some people, shin splints are the result of over-pronation (rolling of the foot), a problem best resolved with shoe inserts known as orthotics.

But for the vast majority, shin splints happen because of a weak muscle (the tibialis anterior). Here are some simple exercises for strengthening that muscle:

  1. Sit down and write the letters of the alphabet in the air with your toes.
  2. Point and flex your foot repeatedly.
  3. Walk on your heels with your toes pointed skyward. You can start by doing 10 seconds sets in 4 or 5 repetitions. When you feel more comfortable, work up to 30-second intervals.