Part of being prepared is the ability to haul one’s self from point A to point B. I’ll talk about navigation later, so let’s assume you can get around without getting lost or relying on your phone’s GPS to tell you every step of the way.
Walking is a lost art in America, and I’m not talking about mall walking with the old folks, desperately trying to keep one foot out of the grave. The internal combustion engine is a marvel and wonder without a doubt, but there are always consequences. In this case, our cities and living are spread out, especially west of the Mississippi, to the point where we rely on modern transportation to get us around.
This affords us with a challenge to meet and crush: learning to walk for longer distances than to the fridge and couch.
If you are starting out, start small. Take your time and build up. Focus on walking consistently. You might get flack from family and friends. Don’t give up!
Footwear is important. I’m not going to suggest a particular brand, everyone likes something different. I do suggest getting hiking boots. Walking is phase one. Hiking will be the next step, so I recommend getting boots now and break them in with walking. If you wear them out, and I hope you do, buy more. Find the ones that work for you and fit well. Ankle support and waterproofed are highly recommended. Watch the height! You can get boots that are high enough and rigid enough to hurt your shins when hiking. You might not even notice while walking.
Socks. These will be more important when hiking but here’s a chance to try out styles to see what works for you. I like a wool blend. Some people hate wool. Go try out brands.
There’s a number of little things you can do to increase your walking level.
- Park further away from the store entrance. Obviously, there will be times when that doesn’t make sense, but make that your default instead of the exception.
- Take the stairs whenever and wherever possible. I’m four flights up from the parking to the office floor. I take it every day. There are days when I look at the between the stairs and the elevator and think “It would be fine if I took the elevator this time.” I then mock myself for being weak and take the stairs.
- Walk outside. Don’t let things like light rain or a blustery day deter you. Dress appropriately and get out there.
- Find your rhythm. Not everyone walks the same. Find how your body responds. Work on streamlining the processes.
- Keep pushing yourself.
- Sign up for those “Fun Runs/Walks” and walk the distance.
- If all else fails, walk in the gym. This should be your last resort when all other avenues are closed. Walk around the track or treadmill, but move.
Make sure you are creating conditions where you don’t rely on overtaxing your willpower. That means if you aren’t naturally motivated to get out and walk, make you sure you take things with you that eases that resistance. Listen to music, or an Audible book. Bring something to drink. Bring a snack if that’s what helps you. The important thing is to be walking.
It’s a shocking how few Americans do it anymore for any length of distance. This is an easy way to level up.
It’s easy to be complacent. Don’t.