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Getting Ready for a Walking Vacation

Have you ever gone to visit somewhere and found yourself way out of shape for all the walking you needed to do? I’ve seen people on vacation just worn out from all the walking they were doing. It was obvious that this was way more than their normal level of activity. It puts quite a damper on an otherwise fun time. If you have a vacation or just a visit somewhere and want to enjoy sightseeing, walking tours or just days of outlet mall shopping, read these tips on getting ready for a walking vacation.

Start Training. You know that you cannot ask your body to suddenly do things it’s just not used to doing without paying the price. So, start now and get your body used to moving again. Here’s my recommended beginner’s plan: Starting to Walk for Fitness. This will have you walking four days a week in just month, for a distance of approximately 2 miles each walk. If you need to walk longer distances, start walking 20 minutes a day for three days a week (walk, rest, walk, rest, walk, rest, rest) and add five minutes each week, and in week three, add a fourth day. This is a bit more aggressive, but still totally do-able for most people.

Buy walking shoes early and wear them. While it is true that a properly fitted shoe needs no breaking in, it is equally true that you don’t want to find out on Day One of your vacation that your shoe doesn’t really fit properly. A running shoe store is the best place to be fitted for shoes, even for walkers. Typically, the employees in these stores are runners or walkers and are better trained in fitting shoes. You will pay higher prices for the shoes there, but your feet will thank you, and once you find shoes that work for you, you can try to find them at discount stores, outlets, or even online if that better fits your budget. Once you get your shoes, take a few walks in them to make sure they fit and you like walking in them. Don’t worry; most shoes can take at least 500 miles of use before you need to replace them, so you’ll have plenty of walking time left. If possible, take two pairs of shoes and wear them on alternate days.

Try to mimic the conditions of your vacation walking while you are still at home. If you are going on an outlet mall shopping spree with the girls, walk in the local mall to get used to the concrete floors. If you are finally getting to the world’s largest flea market or yard sale, walk on similar turfs. If you’ll be walking in the mountains and you live in flat land, use a treadmill that has a “hills” option. And, if you are sightseeing in a sunshine state, try to get in some daytime walks, too. If you plan on taking pictures, walk with your camera so you can get used to it—you might need a different strap or case to make it more comfortable.

Buy supplies. You’ll probably need good sunglasses and sunscreen, lip balm, a hat or visor, water bottles, wicking socks, weather-appropriate clothing (I recommend the quick-drying clothes), and maybe portable snack foods. I always stock up on chewing gum, too. Sure, you can buy some or all of this on location, but some vacation destinations charge well more than market value for these basic supplies.

Recommended products available at Amazon.com:

Sigg Lifestyle Loop Top Water Bottle (1.0-Liters)

Neutrogena Age Shield Sunblock with Helioplex, SPF 45, 4-Ounce Tube (fragrance-free!)


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