I have really enjoyed getting out there and walking a lot. It can be meditative, invigorating, exhausting, challenging, and fun. I feel better when I do it regularly, and I find I really like it. I like being outside (at least when the weather is nice) and I use it as a time to think about stuff and plan projects and create my to do lists, and I get some great exercise too. Walking is actually something I can do. Even though I am completely unathletic and uncoordinated!
So here are 10 things I have learned while walking.
1. Don’t take it for granted that cars will stop for you, even if you have the green light in your favor or are in a cross walk. Some drivers just do not see pedestrians, so always look before walking into traffic. I have had a few close calls.
2. People are slobs. They throw all kinds of trash out, food wrappers, cigarette butts, glass bottles, beer cans, etc. Kids and pets are picking that stuff up or walking through the broken glass. It’s just not good. Come on people! What happened to having pride in your neighborhood and your community. Pick your trash up! And don’t even get me started on the people who don’t clean up after their dogs!
I have seen some odd things out there, but that is a whole other posting.
3. Be sure to take water with you, or at the very least know where you can stop and get water along the way. It is very easy to get dehydrated. Especially on long walks.
4. Wear the right shoes and socks. Your feet and your knees and your back will all thank you if you have the right gear on. You might think it doesn’t really matter, but trust me, it does.
5. It’s a great idea if you drive a few different routes and note the mileage. You will know which route to take if you want to walk 2 miles, or 5 miles, or 8 miles, or whatever. I have several different routes I can take from my house, with different mileage and some with more hills than others, depending on what I want. I also have some routes in different parts of town that I can do, because I get bored with the exact same route all the time. The different routes help me to stay interested and so I keep walking!
6. Walk where there are sidewalks or good paths, and use them. You will be safer than if you need to walk on the streets. If you are walking off to the side of the road but where there are no paths, then you run the risk of twisting an ankle due to uneven terrain. It’s important to stay safe, especially if you are walking alone.
7. Wear layers. A light jacket or sweatshirt that can easily be taken off or put back on if the weather changes or if you start working up a sweat is a good option.
8. Wear sunscreen and a hat and shades. Protect your face and your eyes from the sun. And don’t forget to put sunscreen on your ears. It’s easy to forget them.
9. Be sure to carry an ID with you, and your cell phone, just in case of an emergency.
10. And last but not least. Know where the nearest bathroom is at any point along your walk. There is nothing worse than being 3 miles away from your house and having a desperate need for the bathroom. You should know if it is closer to go back home or go forward to the 7-11. I know where I can stop for a bathroom break all along my route.
I’ll let you know if I learn anything else!