Walking is an excellent exercise. It’s simple enough that people of various ages can do it, and it has many health benefits. Walking for health helps you keep your weight down, control blood sugar levels, and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also lower your blood pressure and lessen pain if you have arthritis.
Yet, did you know you can further maximise these health benefits with certain gear? Here are a few key items you should consider bringing or wearing on your future walks:
Comfortable walking shoes
One common walking mistake many people make is using the wrong footwear. Since walking involves moving your limbs and joints—especially your lower body—this increases your risk of injuries like sprains, shin splints, and Achilles tendinopathy. These conditions can keep you from walking for weeks or months
Fortunately, you can stay safe by simply wearing the proper walking shoes. These should be flexible enough for your foot to roll from heel to toe. You also need to ensure you have room to wiggle your toes so your shoes don’t pinch them down the line. One model to try is Adidas’s Terrex Skychaser 2.0 GORE-TEX shoes. The GORE-TEX fabric technology they use provides impenetrable protection during wet and windy conditions to prevent injury, while its tough rubber outsoles can keep you comfy even when you’re walking on uneven paths.
Walking exposes you to outdoor elements, including the sun, rain, and snow. Aside from your feet, your skin is also prone to damage and injuries from such elements. This is why wearing temperature- and weather-appropriate clothing is essential during your walks. Otherwise, you may suffer from hypothermia, heat strokes, sunburns, and ice burns that could land you in the hospital.
A great rule of thumb for hot days is to avoid wearing cotton shirts: these absorb sweat and may weigh you down. Instead, opt for fabrics with moisture-wicking technology, like the New Balance Q Speed Jacquard Tank or the Nike Dri-FIT T-shirt. In cooler weather, layer up with long-sleeved shirts and a jacket.
The eyes are also susceptible to injuries while walking. Since they’re sensitive, the sun easily damages them—even when it’s cloudy outside. Over time, overexposure to the UV rays it emits can lead to glaucoma, cataract formation, and even vision loss. Since you walk often, wearing sunglasses will help you avoid accidents caused by the sun’s glare blocking your vision. It’ll also help you maintain good eye health over time so you can keep walking for longer.
When buying a pair, look for one that offers UV protection. Many brands—like Ray-Ban and BLOC Eyewear—offer this, so it should be easy to find. For example, the BLOC Titan sunglasses can adapt to block UV rays in varying light conditions, so your eyes remain shielded no matter the weather. However, you may want to try Ray-Ban’s polarised sunglasses, such as the Original Wayfarer Classic. Aside from providing 100% UVA and UVB protection, their polarised lens coatings can more effectively block glare and improve contrast and clarity so you avoid tripping and injuring yourself on your walks.
A water bottle
Because walking is a cardio activity, you may notice that you sweat a lot. Although this is good for regulating body temperature, it also means losing fluids. This could lead to dehydration, causing you to pass out or experience low blood pressure. In worse cases, you may get hospitalised.
Prevent this by carrying a water bottle when walking. Stainless steel bottles, such as the Super Sparrow bottles, retain water temperature, so can you’ll have access to cold water on hot days and vice versa. You can also buy water in cardboard carton containers, like Carton Water, to lighten your load and dispose of the recyclable packaging in a rubbish bin during your walk.
Using the proper gear will allow you to get as many health benefits as possible from your daily walks. Keep this gear in mind before you head out tomorrow!