Walking is a great opportunity to work on coordination, balance, core strength, posture and alignment. It is low impact and virtually everyone can do it. In the winter, you can join a mall walk if you have access to a large local mall. Check with the information and visitor services. If you wish to go on your own, go for a brisk walk in your local park or on a designated walking trail.
What to know?
1. Wear wicking layers.
These performance fabrics pull sweat from your skin, dry faster and keep you comfortable. If you are shopping for athletic clothing, look for anti-stink clothing properties too. You’ll thank me later. Do not wear your heavy winter coat. It will become cumbersome. You cannot strip off layers with a heavy coat so when you perspire it will weigh you down.
I personally prefer running tights, you can layer these with shorts or a wind pant. I also recommend layering with a base layer under a fleece or a vest. Make sure whatever top layer you choose has zippered pockets. This way you can secure a wallet, keys and your phone in a safe place.
Tip: If you do not have a waterproof case for your valuables, carry a ziplock bag and slide your important items into it. If you don’t have that, try Saran wrap. It will hold you over.
2. Wear comfortable athletic shoes and good socks.
You need support. Bad socks will chafe. Let your feet breathe.
4. Wear Gloves, especially if you have poor circulation.
Your hands are prone to get cold first. You do not want to walk with your hands in your pockets especially if you slip and fall.
5. Wear a hat.
Most core body heat is lost through the head. If you are a person who runs hot, wear a headband to warm your ears.
Planning Your Route
1. Choose a path to walk without being aggressed by cars, runners and bikers. Get away from the crowd. It will slow you down.
2. Watch for traffic and know your area traffic patterns such as: school buses, rush hour, etc.
A good walking route is one where you don’t have to worry for your safety. You may also want to avoid breathing in car fumes too. Don’t stick too close to a major roadway.
3. Wear a GPS device or map your distance in advance.
Know where you are going in advance. Try not to wing it. If you plan a safe path in advance, you can actually take a moment to enjoy the view. Don’t forget to share your route with friends if you are heading out alone.
4. Check the weather before you leave. Is it expected to rain? snow? Be ready. Avoid ice, or untended property, stick to a roadway that is well groomed and cared for.
My walks are always pre-planned. Lay out the path in advance.
1. Decide your pace before you leave. What kind of walk are we doing today? Are you out for a walk or out for a leisurely stroll? One burns more calories than the other. Remember we are aiming for health results.
2. If you are walking with a group, I highly recommend you walk single file or two-by-two. Otherwise, you are blocking the road. We are not out to talk and commiserate. We are there to workout and we do the chatting at the breaks.
3. Music. This is a tough one. I think a walk can give you an opportunity to enjoy silence and know your thoughts. But if you NEED to have music for motivation, keep the volume low enough that you can still listen to your surroundings. You will want to hear that bike rider alarming you that she’s coming up behind you and passing on your left.
4. If permitting, choose a route with water fountains along the way. For long walks, invest in a runner’s water belt, or Camelback hydration pack. I don’t suggest you carry bottles in your hands. For short walks, under an hour, you don’t need to carry water. Seriously, unless you leave your home dehydrated, you’re gonna be fine.
5. Carry your phone, in case of emergency, but turn the ringer off. This is not a time to catchup with friends and chat. Make your calls when you are done. If walking with friends, walk briskly then have coffee afterwards. Walking distracted is dangerous.
1. What you focus on will only multiply in your head.
Think warm thoughts and let your mind stay in the workout. If you focus on the cold, you only get colder.
2. If you are dressed appropriately, you will not suffer the elements.
Alright, enough talk for now, get out there!