Walking into Summer!

Summer is a great time to focus on exercise; the weather is nice, the days are longer, and we tend to spend more time outdoors. For those looking to add some exercise to their summer schedule, but may be looking for something low impact and low cost, walking is definitely the answer!

Walking provides so many health benefits, and it’s literally a free activity, so it’s a win-win situation.  Walking increases the fitness of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, boosts your metabolism, burns calories at a steady rate, helps improve muscle strength and tone, reduces body fat, and helps strengthen our bones and improve our balance. In all, simply walking each day, helps our bodies more than any other exercise. It can be done almost anywhere, costs no money, and can also take us to some beautiful places! Who doesn’t want an exercise program like that??

If you’re already on a regular program of walking, this article can provide you with some summer reminders for safe and comfortable walking. If you’re brand new to a walking program, I hope this will inspire to you lace up and set out for some fun walking adventures!

For those just starting out, it’s recommended that you start your new walking plan slowly, adding time, distance, and a faster pace as you get comfortable with your new fitness plan. Try to start with 20-30 minutes a day, adding a few minutes as you gain confidence and strength in your plan. As you gain endurance, try adding intervals of faster pace, or perhaps some hills to your journey to get those calories burning and muscles toned.

Because summer brings us hotter weather and lots of sun, it’s important to be prepared and safe as we walk each day. Here is a list of helpful tips to keep you moving, healthy, and safe all summer long.

TIMING

Because summer brings us more heat and longer days of bright sunshine, it’s crucial to plan walks at a time in which you will not be greatly affected by those factors. Try planning your walks for early morning before the heat of the day sets in, and find that not only do you get a sense of accomplishment early in your day, but also benefit from an increase in your metabolism all day long! If early morning exercise is not your things, plan for a late evening walk around sunset as the day cools down. Walking in the evening will not only aid in digestion of your dinner, but help relieve stress and tension, and prepare you for more restful sleep.

INDOOR WALKING

For some, walking outside is not possible. Super hot weather, traffic, heat intolerance, or schedules can make getting an outdoor walk in difficult. Treadmills are a great option if you have access to one, and your entire workout can be done without thought of weather. This workout can even be done in front of the TV! Start at a slow pace, and a small incline, building upon both as you feel your endurance build. If you don’t have access to a treadmill, try 20 minutes of marching as you watch a favorite show, and build upon it as you go. For those thinking this is silly-I will admit-I have hit over 30,000 steps watching Sunday Football games-and never left my house!

DRESS FOR STEP SUCCESS

It’s important to have decent, sturdy, comfortable shoes no matter where you might be getting your steps in. Make sure you shoes fit well, and don’t cause any discomfort as you walk. Protect your feet! Tend to blisters as needed, and adjust laces and insoles to get the most comfortable fit.

Light colored clothing is a must when walking during summer months! Avoid dark colors that pull the heat into your body. Look for cool cotton clothing, or even an air wicking fabric to be sure you are dry and cool. Loose fitting clothes will help you feel cooler and drier as well. Avoid poly blend fabrics, as they tend to hold in both heat and moisture. Consider a hat to keep your face cool and dry as well. And don’t forget your sunscreen!

FIND A BUDDY OR A TRIBE

Having a walking partner keeps you motivated! Conversation helps pass the time, and you may feel safer as well. In many areas, there are walking groups or clubs that meet regularly in neighborhoods and parks, and you can find these on Facebook, Nextdoor, or Meetup. Walking with others helps motivate us to get moving, keeps us interested in the process, and allows up to build relationships in a healthy manner.

MAKE IT FUN

For those walking solo, add a little creative multitasking to the effort. Try a new playlist to keep your heart pumping and you feet moving. Listen to an audible book, learn a new language, or catch up on you favorite podcasts while enjoying you walk. These things will not only challenge your creativity and mind, but make the time fly by as you get your exercise in.

HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE

As a general health rule, I encourage my clients and friends to aim for half their body weight in ounces of water each day. (150 pound person should aim for 75 ounces of water) This is a normal, average goal for general daily purpose. During hot months, and times of exercise, water intake should be increased. Get a water bottle that is easy to carry, and fill it with cool water for the duration of your walk. Be sure you are well hydrated BEFORE heading out for a walk, and upon completing of your walk, drink even more fluid. Dehydration can hit us quickly on hot days, and can leave us feeling really horrible. To be sure you are properly hydrated, check your perspiration levels-if you are not perspiring, you need fluids. Most people can also check their hydration levels simply by checking the color of their urine. Very dark urine can be a sign of dehydration, and clearer urine can indicate a well hydrated body. (This does not work for people on medications or experiencing illness) It’s best to keep to a regular schedule of drinking cool water throughout the entire day. 

EXPLORE, EXPLORE, ENJOY

Look for new places to enjoy you daily walks-perhaps a new path or park, a new neighborhood, or even a new town.  Mix up your walking schedule by planning new places to walk, new friends to walk with, new things to listen to as you walk, and you will find this to be a new adventure! Be sure to check your surroundings, know your area, watch for traffic, and ensure that your walk will be safe. (THIS from someone that can easily wander upon an alligator or coyote on a daily walk!) Be safe, explore new things in your life, boost your health, and have a fabulous summer!

From my business site Beewell.com