You know why you want to walk – now you need to prepare. Making sure you have the right shoes and comfortable clothing are key to avoiding unnecessary aches and pains.
Other great tools you might want use:
- a pedometer or other device to count steps or measure your distance
- your music to make the walk more fun
- hand weights (light weights can add more to your workout and help increase upper body muscles)
Along with everything else, you always want to be sure that you are being safe.
No matter where you are walking, knowing the following will help keep you and everyone else around you safe:
- When walking on trails or in the mall, make sure you are on the proper side and are able to allow others wanting to go faster to pass you.
- Remember, there are strength in numbers; friends aren't only there to encourage you, but also to help keep you safe.
- If you walk outside at night, remember to wear bright colors or something that will reflect. Cars and other people will be able to see you more clearly.
- Keep yourself hydrated to avoid any accidents caused by dehydration.
- Listen to your body. If it is telling you to slow down, then slow down.
Knowing possible dangers, being courteous and realizing that you are not the only one on the trails, in the mall or at the gym are key steps to exercising safely.
Shoes are a vital part of your walking experience. If you get the wrong shoes, walking may be an uncomfortable experience. However, with the proper fit, you'll never want to stop walking!
Walking shoes are the best kind of shoes for walking; running shoes work well, too, especially if you are heavy on your heels for they have extra heel cushioning. Here are a few tips with helping you pick the proper shoes:
- Change your walking shoes every six to nine months, even if they don't look too worn out yet.
- Get expert help. Have your feet measured late in the afternoon when your feet are slightly swollen to ensure the most comfort.
- Keep in mind that a good fit should leave ½-inch of toe room.
- Try the shoes on and walk around in them for a while. They should be comfortable to walk in right away.
- Don't always go for the shoes that look "cool." Comfort should be the first consideration.
Now that you have your shoes, your feet feel amazing. You're almost ready to hit the streets!
Why wear a pedometer? It:
- Increases awareness of daily activities,
- Monitors progress,
- Provides motivation to be more active, and
- Helps to set and achieve goals.