Despite the fact that the benefits of regular physical activity are widely known, the choice to keep a more and more sedentary behavior is increasing. Recent studies have identified walking as a form of physical activity specially suited for many people. The main reason for this is extremely easy accessibility. Additionally, the risk in brisk walks compared to running are much lower, due to accidents and injuries that can occur during or after runs.
The highest health benefit will be reached when performing a brisk walk. It is recommended to perform at least 150minutes of brisk walking per week. Starting off with as little/much as you can and slowly increasing the time to your fitness level. A brisk walk is usually categorized as a moderate intensity fitness program with roughly 100 steps per minute or 4mph/6.5kmph.
While traveling it is often easy to opt for the lazy option, the taxies or buses may be cheaper than what you are used to. So next time when you ask yourself what you could be doing on this day on your vacations, why not just go out and take a walk? You will be surprised how you can connect to the people on the street and how much walks like this can teach you about humanity and your environment.
No need to wait any longer, here are some tips to keep in mind before heading out the door.
The warmer the climate the more water you need. The general advice is given by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. This includes liquid intakes during food which accounts for roughly 20% of total liquids consumed. At this point, it is, however, important to notice factors including level of exercise, environment (hot/cold, humid/dry), overall health and pregnancy. Also, sports drinks should be used only when you’re exercising intensely for more than an hour. These drinks help replace electrolytes lost through perspiration and sugar needed for energy during longer bouts of exercise. With high amounts of sugar intakes through beverages obesity and diabetes increase in their chances.
Snacks for the road
Hiking snacks are a must-have on the trail. They’ll keep you going throughout the day and provide you with that much-needed energy required to get to where you’re going. As far as hiking snacks go, it doesn’t get much better than trail mix. Trail mix should be ever-present in every hiker’s backpack as it’s a tasty, high-energy and convenient snack to have on the go. It consists of a combination of nuts, granola, dried fruit and, as an added treat, chocolate. Additionally, keeping the energy level high can also avoid unnecessary aggravation between you and your travel buddy. It makes your travels much more enjoyable.
Choose your footwear properly
People have strong opinions about hiking boots. The common reason why hikers feel that you need them is ankle support. Though, it might be necessary to consider active vs passive stability in this case. The less you give passive stability (ankle braces, high ankle boots, etc.) the less your active stability (muscles) have to work and engage in the effort. It is then important to consider that you want to stimulate your muscles as much as possible to get the best benefit out of the walk and to improve your balance. However, there might be situations where more support is necessary to have an enjoyable walk and minimize the risks. Some occasions could be wet and muddy, or rocky. Other than that, try to minimize passive support to get the full benefit of your walk.
Sunglasses and protection
Choose good sunglasses, the $2 glasses don’t protect you much so spend the extra money to protect your vision. You will be glad to still be able to see in years after. Additionally, protect your skin with either closing or proper sunscreen. The last thing you want is to wake up the next morning in the hotel with a red back that limits you from walking the next day. Last but not least, don’t forget your hat. With intense sun all day, sunstroke is a serious risk that can be prevented with some precautions.
Maps or phone with GPS
You are limited much more if you don’t know where you are going. How to find back to the hotel? It might be necessary to plan your route in order to avoid complications. You can also use common landmarks to orientate yourself. Points such as a big mall, certain monuments or parks can be identified by locals to guide you back home safely. Google maps or maps.me work alright and are also available in offline modus.
ID and money
Be prepared for everything, but don’t overdo it either. Bringing too much money will put you in risk for theft but you still want to make sure that you have enough for your emergency costs that could arise. The last thing you want is to twist your ankle and be stuck on the side of the road leaving you unable to go back to your hotel.
Depending on the location you are walking in bring more clothes. In the forest it can quickly get colder faster, rain can come even with blue skies out, and wind can turn a warm day to chilly. Any of the above can make your walk less enjoyable and dangerous with the wrong combinations. Keep it realistic but go for the worst-case scenario.
Trust in science and continue reading here for more info:
The Importance of Walking to Public Health – I-Min Lee; David Buchner
Health benefits of Nordic walking: a systematic review. – Tschentscher M., Niederseer D, Niebauer J.