You don’t need anything fancy to walk like a pro, but there is gear and gadgets out there that can help you get started and might help motivate you to keep walking. You already know all the health benefits associated with walking (like reduce risk of disease, reduce stress, improve mood, tone muscles, improve cardio vascular health) so now all you need is the right gear and gadgets to get you motivate and get started!

The Gear

Shoes
Nothing expensive is required, but properly fitted shoes with a cushion sole and secure fit it best. If you decide to walk on your lunch break promise me you will change your shoes – you will walk with more purpose and intent (read burn more calories, work those muscles a bit more) if you have proper shoes and won’t risk injury.

Walking Poles
They serve a purpose and make your walk more of a full body workout too. Nordic walking with Urban Poles has many health benefits vs walking without them. Up to 46% more calories are burned vs. regular walking and they increase your stability, your balance and your posture.

Poles such as the unique strapless and ergonomic handles on these Urban Poles target your core muscles while reducing the load on your lower joints. You don’t need walking poles to walk like a pro, but if you are on uneven ground, out in snow or require a little extra stability, walking poles can make walking easier. Get a better workout and walk safer by adding walking poles.

Breathable Clothing in Layers
Anyone who tries to tell me that walking is not good exercise has never done the 3km loop with my dog on a cold winter morning. I start off with my coat, hat, mitts and scarf on and chilly but am peeling it all off before I get home because I am sweating!

Breathable shirts that wick away sweat and wearing layers is the best strategy so you have options as you heat up and are not too cold when you start out.


The Gadgets

RunKeeper, MapMyWalk or Similar App
Find an app that is easy to use and take your phone with you on your walk. With it you can map your route, track your pace, see calories burned and keep track of distances walked. These apps then allow you to save the walk and you can compare it to the next walk. The apps can be interactive and tell you when you are speeding up or slowing down, when you have gone farther than before, faster than ever and how many kilometers you have walked in a week or a month. All of these features can be motivating and help you challenge yourself to be faster or walk further the next time.

FitBit or Pedometer
Simpler than the apps above, both a pedometer and FitBit type devices will track your steps so you can set goals to walk more step the next time or challenge your friends to who can walk the most steps in a day or a week!

Watch
You don’t need a gadget any fancier than a old fashioned wrist watch. Something that can track your time. Promise yourself two 10 minute walks today and a couple 15 minute walks next week. Work towards a weekly goal of total minutes or a monthly goal of a few hours. Remember, walking can be done anywhere, anytime (with proper shoes!) so it can be easy to add up those minutes.

Music
If you get bored out there walking on your own take music with you or listen to a podcast or an audio book. You will look forward to the walk get lost on what is in your earphones and may lose track of time and walk even further.

Getting You Started

Walk the neighbourhood – great way to get to know your neighbours

Walk the Mall – many shopping centres open earlier for walkers and what better way to get in your walk when the weather isn’t co-operating.

Go off road – Look for different terrain like trails, grass, sand, snow – easier with your Urban Poles

Head for the hills -hills engage different muscles. Tone butt, back of thighs and add more calorie burning cardio to your walk.

Take a friend – everything is fun when friends are along and youll insprie each other.

Take a dog – If you don’t own one, offer to take an neighbours dog out for a walk. The joy in them will add joy to your walk

Walking is easy to integrate into even the busiest of schedules and is great cardio without putting strain on joints or risking injury.

Once you get out there for a walk, treat it as the workout that it is and put a spring in your step. Get your heart rate up and tone those muscles – walk at a brisk rate, like you are late and hurrying to get somewhere. Keep this pace up for as long as you can to release those feel good endorphins and enjoy the feeling of being active.

 

*Check with your doctor before starting any type of exercise program, including walking.