Benefits of Walking
As well as taking in the breathtaking scenery there are a number benefits that you can get from walking:
- Walking is great for fun and fitness
- Walking benefits health and well-being
- Walking is suitable for all ages
- Discover attractive and interesting places to walk
- Revisit favourite places
- A chance to meet new people
- Most walks are inexpensive.
Shoes are the single most important piece of equipment for the walker. They can be the difference between having a fun, relaxing walk and an uncomfortable, painful one.
It is vital to wear the right shoes encompassing the following:
- Provide both support and comfort to all parts of the foot
- Have enough toe room so that you can wiggle your toes
- Have firm support at the heel
- Have a flexible cushioned sole in order to aid in the walking gait and absorb shock
- Be made of breathable material, preferably leather or fabric to allow perspiration to dissipate
- Be lightweight.
Under normal weather conditions there is flexibility in the type of clothes you can wear. It is advisable to wear loose fitting clothing. Under special weather conditions the type of clothing is extremely important. Here are some guidelines:
Dress warmly - This means wearing layers of clothing that trap the heat and allows you to remove layers if it gets warmer.
Wear a hat - Approximately 30% of your body heat is lost through your head.
Less is more - wear light clothing. Wear a hat to block the sun's rays and wear sunscreen.
In rain or snow, a water and windproof jacket is essential
Do's and Doníts
Do... See a doctor - talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise programme, particularly if you have not exercised for a while.
Do... Drink water - Extremely important on hot and humid days, drink before, during and after your walk. Daily recommendations are 8 glasses per day or 2 litres.
Do... Eat well - Avoid junk food and all products with high fat and cholesterol. Eat 3 moderately sized meals a day including 5 portions of fruit and vegetables
Do... Try to walk on a smooth level surface where possible - This will result is less fatigue and fewer injuries.
Don't... Continue walking if you have chest pains, are overly tired, dizzy, feel pain or experiencing shortness of breath, stop walking and see a doctor.
Don't... Walk right after or before meals. Walking 2 hours after a meal and waiting 20 minutes after your walk to eat should be sufficient.
Don't... Walk outdoors if it is extremely cold, hot or humid. If you do, either wrap up warm of walk in the shade.