How to Do It
What you'll need
Shoes are the most important part of your walking gear. Good walking shoes are generally flat, but flexible, so your foot rolls with each step. They should fit well, but leave enough room for your feet to spread out while walking. Wear socks that are comfortable. Try socks made of cotton or other sweat-wicking materials — they will keep your feet drier and help prevent blisters. Running shoes are okay to use for walking. Don't forget to trade in the old shoes when the treads start wearing out — which is about 500 miles. Whew!
Wear comfortable clothing when walking and try to dress in layers, so you can always take off something as you warm up. Layering with a t-shirt, sweatshirt, or windproof jacket is a good idea if it's windy or chilly outside.
Two other essentials: sunscreen and a hat. The sunscreen protects your skin from the sun. In the summer, a hat keeps the sun out of your face, and in the winter it helps to keep you warm by trapping the heat that is lost from the top of your head. A bright colored hat will also make it easy for drivers to see and avoid you.
Play it safe
It's always best to walk where you can avoid traffic — like parks or even the mall! Or try to find an area where there are sidewalks. If you have to walk on a street without sidewalks, walk close to the curb facing traffic. Remember to cross the street only at marked crosswalks or at corners, keep your ears and eyes open, and watch out for traffic in front and back of you. Wear bright-colored clothing or reflectors so drivers can see you. If you are walking alone, don't wear headphones — if they are too loud, they can keep you from hearing any oncoming traffic.
Water, water, water. It's a good idea to drink some water before you head out to walk, while you are walking, and when you get back — even if it's cold outside or you don't feel thirsty. In the summer, late afternoons (not nights) and mornings are the best times to walk to avoid the midday heat and humidity.
Remember — start out slowly and gradually increase the speed and distance you walk — don't try walking a marathon your first time out! And no matter where you are walking, be aware of what is going on around you.
How to play
You've probably been walking for about as long as you've been talking. But walking isn't just a way to get from here to there; it's also a great bone-strengthening physical activity that can help you build strong bones! Walking doesn't require a lot of equipment, you can do it anywhere, it is always available by just walking out your front door, and it's a great way to relax and refresh. It's also something you can do alone or with your friends and family.
For more information, visit: www.bam.gov/sub_physicalactivity/activitycards_walking.html.