Healthy Children - May 2016

Walking Activity Card - Gear Up!

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 talking. 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 lode shoes when the treads start wearing out – which is about 500 miles. Whew!

Wear comfortable clothing when walking. 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. Need to learn more about sun protection? Read here for more info!

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 afternoon’s (not nights) and mornings are the best times to walk to avoid the midday heat and humidity. Read more about staying cool at

It is best to warm up your muscles before stretching them. So warm up for 5 minutes at an easy walking pace before stretching. Then stretch by starting at the top of your body and working your way down. Make sure to cool down and stretch after your walk too!

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.

Physical Activity at Home, Work, and Play – 10 tips to make physical activity a regular part of the day

Adding activity into your day is possible. Choose activities that you enjoy. Adults should aim for at least 2 ½ hours or 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Every little bit adds up, and doing something is better than doing nothing. Most important – have fun while being active!

  1. Take 10
    Do at least 10 minutes of activity at a time to ready your weekly goal. Walk the dog for 10 minutes before and after work and add a 10-minute walk at lunchtime.
  2. Mix it up
    Start the week with a swim at the pool, take a yoga class during a weekday lunch, lift weights in the evening, and end the week by working in the garden.
  3. Be ready anytime
    Keep comfortable clothes and walking or running shoes in the car and at the office.
  4. Find ways to move
    Take a brisk walk around the parking lot, jog to the bus stop, or ride your bike to the subway station. If you have an infant or toddler, take a long walk using the stroller and everyone gets some fresh air.
  5. Work out during the TV time
    Watch a movie while you jog on a treadmill or download a video on your phone and watch while you ride a stationary bike.
  6. Be an active parent
    Instead of standing on the sidelines, walk up and down the soccer, football or softball field while the kids play their game.
  7. Find support
    Join a walking group, play wheelchair sports, practice martial arts, or sign up for an exercise class in your community. Recruit family or friends for support.
  8. Enjoy the great outdoors
    Tumble in the leaves, build a snow man with your kids, or ski cross-country. Visit a county or national park and spend time hiking, canoeing, or boating.
  9. Look for wellness at work
    Find a softball, basketball, or volleyball team at your job. You can also take the lead by starting a wellness or exercise group in your office.
  10. The chores count, too
    Clean the house, wash the car, or mow the lawn with a push mower. Know that these activities count toward your goal of at least 150 minutes each week.