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Stepping Out

In planning your walking program consider the following tips:

  • A little walking every day is far better than an occasional weekend bout of frenzied activity.  So aim to make short walks a daily adventure, with extended brisk walks every second day.

  • Explore a variety of routes and choose ones that are interesting, safe and convenient.  Avoid heavy traffic, loose dogs and rough terrain.  Remember that hills or stairs will increase the difficulty of your walk.

  • Walking with others can be more motivating than walking alone.  Why not join a walking club (phone your local Y or municipal recreation department to find a group) or ask a neighbour or family member to join you.

  • Walk safely.  Don’t wear a Walkman in downtown traffic or in areas where you need to be constantly alert.  At night, walk with a friend, and wear reflective tape on your clothing.  Always carry identification and change for a phone call.

  • When it is very hot, choose a shaded route and walk a little slower than usual.  Drink some cool water before you leave and carry water in a fanny pack if there is no water fountain en route.  Avoid the hot noonday sun.  Wear a hat and sunscreen.

  • When it is cold, avoid icy surfaces and walk in places where you are shielded from the wind.  Many Canadians prefer to “mall” walk at a local shopping centre on icy days.

Extras: A pedometer, which estimates the distance you travel, can be a good motivator.  For extended walks, a light fanny pack or backpack is useful for carrying your wallet, keys, water and a pair of dry socks.

Dress in loose, comfortable clothing made of soft fabrics such as cotton, wool or breathable nylon.  In cold weather be aware of the wind-chill factor.  Dress in layers so you can peel off or put on according to how warm you feel.  Wear mittens and a toque to cover up your head and ears. 

Adapted from Active Ontario