April 2005 Newsletter
Walking for Road Warriors
Dear Fellow Business
The overwhelming response to last month's survey topic on walking once
again highlighted the popularity of this great fitness activity.
In this month's article, we discuss proper shoe fit, how to set and
achieve your walking goal, and how to walk smart. But first,
a look at the survey responses to see what the group is up to...
frequently do you walk for exercise?
|Three to five times
per week is by far the most popular frequency in the group.
long is your typical walk?
|Most of you are
walking for 30 to 60 minutes.
That's outstanding! If you're walking 60
minutes, three to fives times per week, you're hitting the government's
recommendation for activity.
you own a pedometer?
|The crowd is in a
dead heat on this one. About
half of you have invested in a pedometer to track your walking
activity. Read on for
more on the usefulness of
Many of you sent us great walking tips and tidbits, such as:
Read on to find out how to start your walking program.
- Listen to books on tape while
you walk. It's a great way to avoid boredom and to catch up on
- Proper posture makes walking
easy. Abs tight, shoulders back, and ears over your shoulders!
- Try alternating fast and slow
intervals while walking. Interval training can help increase
and indurance faster than basic training, and will burn more calories.
- For an added challenge, try
hand or ankle weights.
with a buddy for fun.
As always, there's plenty of new activity in the Travel Fitness
Blog, including Travel Fit Tips and news releases from your
favorite hotels and airlines.
To Your Health,
Customer Service, Healthy Travel
Network and Chief
Walk Your Way to Fitness
Walking is a fabulous and fabulously easy way to get your exercise.
It's a great way to get in shape and stay in shape, whether you're on
the road or at home. I like walking for a variety of reasons:
- It's easier on the joints and
muscles than running. As a result, it's more fun, and you'll
faster and be less prone to injuries.
- Other than a good pair of
shoes, walking doesn't
require any special equipment or clothing.
- Anyone at any fitness level can
opposed to running or other strenuous activities, which require a
minimum fitness level for beginners.
- Walking can be done in short
bursts; for example, in
between client meetings, after dinner, or while you wait for your
- When it's cold out, I don't
mind walking while
bundled up (versus running, which is cumbersome if you have to
lot of clothes).
- When it's hot out, I can walk
without getting as
sweaty as when I am running, hopefully negating the need to take a
second shower during an already busy travel day.
- I get to see the sights in the
town that I'm visiting.
- Although we should all have
warm-ups and stretching
as a part of our regular workout routine, I know the realities of
traveling often dictate cutting things short. Unlike running, walking
requires only minimal warm-up and cool-down.
- Unlike when I’m working out in
the hotel gym, I can’t
be tracked down by coworkers while I'm walking!
- I can multitask while walking,
which is tough with
other forms of exercise. (See sidebar for interesting ways to maximize
your walking time.)
Walking for 30
minutes at a 4 mph pace burns about 100 calories per 100
pounds of body weight. Not too shabby!
Starting with the Proper Fit
Walking requires a
single but extremely important piece of equipment:
good shoes. Wearing
shoes that don’t fit or don’t properly
feet can result in almost immediate injury, resulting not only in
discomfort and pain, but also discouraging you from achieving your
The definition of a
good shoe is one that fits you, not necessarily one
Skip the trendy stores in the mall and seek out a running shoe store
staffed by professionally trained shoe fitters. Plan on
minutes or more in your shoe fitting and selection expedition,
the fitter to properly assess your stance, foot strike, gait, and wear
pattern, and giving you ample time to try on as many pairs as possible.
Take an old pair of
sneakers with you, so that the fitter can assess
your wear pattern. The fitter should also look at you standing
feet to determine whether you have low, medium, or high arches.
Finally, the fitter should also watch you walk and run in bare feet.
All of these assessments help determine your specific shoe needs. If
your shoe fitter isn’t looking at these things, find another store.
should pronate naturally, rolling from the outside heel
to the inside toe. Those of us with flat arches (whose shoes
on the inner section of the toe box) over-pronate, meaning that our
feet roll too much. We need strong, stabilizing shoes that help prevent
Healthy Travel Snack
|Pressed for time?
Multitask while you walk:
your cell phone and call home to chat with friends and family.
:: Take a
coworker (or two) with you and have a meeting or
your walking time as "think time" to noodle on an important
problem or mentally rehearse for a presentation or speech.
your voice mail and return messages. Stick with voice mail
only; Leave the email until after your walk, or you may trip over a
:: Hold a
conference call from your cell phone.
with high arches (whose shoes show wear on the outer section of
the heel) supinate; their feet don’t roll enough. Supinators need very
flexible shoes, to encourage their feet to pronate further.
Another way to determine if you have high or low arches is with the
"wet foot" test. Put a
couple of newspaper pages or other paper on the
floor. Wet the
bottom of your bare foot, and step onto the paper. If the wet area on
the paper is just around the outer edge of your foot, you have high
arches; your arches never touched the paper. If you get a big, wet blob
like I do, you have flat arches.
Other tips for a proper shoe fit:
Finally, remember that this
decision is about function not fashion. Buy
the pair that fits the best, not the one that’s the most trendy.
- Expect to wear a shoe that’s at
least a full size
larger than your street shoes. Look for plenty of room in the
area. Your toes should never, ever touch the end of the shoe.
your fitting at the end of
the day, when your feet
are swollen and tired.
shopping, wear the same type of socks
that you’ll wear when you
exercise in the shoes.
- Try on many pairs. Ask if you
can walk around the
block in each pair before making a decision.
because your friend says a
particular model is
fabulous doesn’t mean it will work for you.
- Generally speaking, running
shoes can also be worn as walking shoes. So, if you can't find a
walking shoe, try on some running shoes.
- Look for a store with a liberal
return policy. Many
will let you wear the shoes inside for a few days, to make sure they
- If you’ve exhausted all of the
shoe possibilities and
are still having trouble finding a good fit, ask your fitter about different lacing
techniques such as bunny ears to prevent heel
slippage, or lacing for wide feet.
- Don’t expect to go out for a
five-mile walk in your
new shoes. Ease into it, to make
sure they fit correctly.
Setting and Achieving Your Walking Goal
You’ve got your shoes… now what?
recommend targeting 10,000 steps per day as a realistic
goal. Although the distance that you’ll walk in 10,000 steps
based on your stride length, 10,000 steps equates to about five miles
for most of us, which is right on target with the government’s
recommendation for 60 minutes of exercise per day.
pedometer will help you track your steps. You’ll find
plenty of models in the $15 to $25 price range at your local
goods store or on the Internet. Look for a comfortable, lightweight
model. Consider getting a model with a clock so that you can avoid
missing your client meeting!
Wear your pedometer
for a few days to monitor your baseline steps per
day. If you’re like me, you’ll be disappointed to see how few
take during a normal workday. Don’t be discouraged, however. There are
plenty of easy ways to increase your normal steps per day, so that you
won’t have to devote substantial time to your new program. Fortunately,
when you’re traveling, you tend to get more walking time by trudging
through airports, hotels, and offices, making it even easier to reach
Obviously your results may vary, perhaps quite substantially, but I
spent a few weeks tracking my steps for some common travel activities;
I have also suggested ways that you easily increase your daily steps.
|Typical day in the
|From home to your
gate at the airport
|Stop looking for the
dream spot and start maximizing your steps by parking at the far end of
|Full day's travel
|Skip the people
|From the parking lot
to your hotel room
|Going to multiple
|To lunch or dinner
|Turn lunchtime into
exercise time by parking at the far end of the parking lot!
|Walking for 30
|Wear your walking
shoes and make use of your layover or flight delays.
determined your baseline steps per day, set a schedule for
yourself to reach your goal of 10,000 steps. If you’re not
regularly, plan on increasing
your steps by 150 to 250 per day (or
roughly 10% of your baseline). Folks already exercising three or more
times per week can plan a more aggressive schedule and target a 300 to
400 step increase per day.
For example, if your baseline is 2,500 steps, you’ll need about 30 days
to reach your 10,000 steps goal. If your goal is more than 30 days
away, consider setting incremental goals at 5,000 and 7,500 steps.
Healthy Travel Network’s handy goal setting worksheet and tracking log
to monitor your progress.
Although walking is
simple and easy, you still need to remember a few
basic “dos” and “don’ts.” Life’s short, so be smart and follow these
Make regular walking
part of your travel routine. Before you know it,
you’ll be walking 10,000 steps per day, everyday!
- Don’t walk after dark.
- Don’t walk in high-crime areas.
- Don’t walk in sparsely
- Don’t walk on the road or
- Do ask at the hotel for a
decent route to follow.
- Do use the buddy system if you
are walking early in
the morning or at dusk.
- Do drop an email or voice mail
to a friend, stating
your route and approximate return time.
- Do carry identification,
information, several dollars, and preferably your cell phone. Check out
convenient identification and emergency contact tags.
- Do wear reflective clothing if
walking early in the
morning or at dusk. Look for easy-to-pack Velcro wrist or ankle bands.
- Do dress in layers for cold
weather, including a hat.
- Do stay hydrated, drinking 8
ounces of water per
hour. Always carry water with you, especially if it is over 50 degrees.
- Do spend the first five minutes
of your walk warming
up, before kicking it into full gear.
- Do cool down by stretching. Key
areas to stretch are
hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves. Visit
the Healthy Travel Network
Travel Fitness blog for stretching instructions.