The 50Plus Fitness Walker - June 2009

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Walking the Great Outdoors


Are you all pumped up? Ready to get going with some outdoor walking and hiking? Are you eager to have the best walking summer ever?

Here's a few things to help maximize your walking enjoyment this season.

First - let’s get into shape. Your walking and hiking excursions will be more enjoyable if you’re strong, flexible and balanced. If you missed them, check out how in previous issues here - Tuning Up Your Body and Taking Good Care of Your Feet.

This month, let’s focus on Good Walking Technique. This is very important and can make the difference between good and poor results. Pay special attention to:

  • Proper posture. How you hold your body directly affects how comfortably and easily you walk.
  • Arm motion. Lends power to your walking, helps balance your leg motion and results in more calories burned while you walk.
  • Taking a step. You know how to take a step but there is a correct and incorrect way to do this. How your heel strikes the ground and how you push off with your toes can affect your posture and your performance.
  • Your walking stride. Everyone is different, but your stride should be longer behind rather than out in front of your body.

For more detailed information review our Good Walking Technique section.

Remember to...

  • Warm up and stretch. Like your car, you need to warm up your body at the beginning of your walk. Unlike your car, you need to cool down your body after your walk by doing the same stretches. Feel free to review our Stretching Exercises and Chair Exercises if you need to.
  • Dress for the season. Wear clothing in layers if appropriate and always dress for visibility. If you plan on a day hike or out for a walk for several hours, be prepared for a change in the weather. Take along an extra pair of socks, gloves or even a toque and be prepared if you are out in the back country.
  • Take along a good supply of drinking water and keep rehydrated when walking in the sun. Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Protect yourself from the weather. Make it a habit to keep all these things in a pack... ready to be taken whenever you go for your walk this summer.

Let’s not forget footwear - your most important equipment. Keep reading to learn how to choose the best walking shoes for you in the Tip Of The Month section below.

Great Idea

Whether you walk by yourself, with a group or take your dog* on your walks, here are some other walking ideas you may find of interest.

*(check out our new Walking With Your Dog page if you haven't seen it yet)

Check for local group, clubs and organization that do walks and hikes in your community. Start with a local recreational club or community center. A great way to meet new people and add new zest to your walks.

Charity Walks

If you're a regular walker and reasonably fit, you might want to consider walking for charity. It’s a great way to help an organization, both through the money raised and the awareness created. Maybe keep it local and organize a walk yourself or with others. Raising money for your neighborhood school or hospital is a great way of getting involved in your community. Don’t forget to contact your friends, family, neighbors or workplace friends (if you're still working) and get them involved too.

Walking Events

If you are looking for scheduled events, here is a good place to start for our US Friends.

American Volksport Federation

We hope you find these links of value. Do you know of other events happening in your part of the world? Let us know. We'd love to share it with all our readers.

Have a "special” walking adventure you'd like to share? Tell the world and get your own personal web page to do it!

Tip of the month

Choose The Best Walking Shoes

Your shoes...the most important equipment for walking and hiking. This topic is so important that we dedicate over a dozen pages to it on our main site. Try as we might we just can't squeeze all that into one or two 'hot' tips for shoe selection. There's just too darn much involved.

Please spend some time and read over the whole section. Choosing The Best Walking Shoes For You. There's important stuff there from knowing the 'secret' to knowing the different types of shoes, picking just the right shoe for you, fitting your shoes properly, choosing the right socks for your type of walking and looking after your shoes properly.

A bit of work the first time but well worth your while in the longer term. Your old bod and your feet will thank you for it over and over.

And as promised last month here's a short list of our favorite shoes. We're biased. When we pick the best walking shoes for ourselves we're huge fans of quality. Quality shoes pay for themselves many times over in the long run - in superior performance, comfort, durability and longer life. Besides - at our age we just darn well deserve the best!

We're most knowledgeable on, once sold and have worn for years shoes by ECCO, Keen, Vasque and Mephisto.

(Please note that these links take you to Zappos - our most favorite internet suppliers with the absolute best customer care practices we have ever found. Be sure to read the "About ... section of each page to learn more about these shoes. Have a look too at the Customer Reviews of these brands. Always a pretty good indicator.

That's all for this month. We hope these tips will be of value to you.

Enjoy your spring! Walk everyday and keep fit for your health's sake.

See you in June when we'll talk about the different types & styles of walking and share our recent walking adventure in the high Andes.

Your walking partners,

Yoko and Geoff

PS - Hmmm. Maybe you’ve gotten a little fuzzy on why walking is so gosh darn good for you? Drop by our Benefits of Walking page again!

PPS - Remember that we welcome your walking stories, hiking tales and tall tales too! Share yours with us, be published on your very own web page and maybe even win some neat prizes!

PPS - Feel free to pass a copy of this newsletter on to your friends, They might enjoy it too!