If you’ve been looking to get fit in 2017, but think that you’re already showing signs of flagging, then you might be in search of a low-intensity, undemanding and effective means of getting up and active. Indeed, you might have the same ambition even if you’ve already given up on the idea of getting active – disheartened by your lack of progress in January.
One of the best ways of getting up and about is the one you’re already familiar with – walking. By simply putting one leg in front of the other, you’ll be able to go a long way toward achieving your fitness goals. And what’s more, you’ll be able to do so without subjecting your body to any untoward stress, and without subjecting your wallet to any major stress.
That said, in order to get the best from the pastime, you’ll want to make a few key investments in the right gear. Let’s take a look at some of the items that’ll make your hiking adventures all the more enjoyable.
While it’s possible to go walking in just about any pair of shoes, there are two main factors that make a real pair of walking boots preferable to just about every alternative. Firstly, a proper pair of walking boots will be able to last much longer – particularly if you’re walking over especially wet or muddy terrain. While an ordinary pair of trainers might begin to fall apart after just a few walks, a pair of real walking boots will tend to be far, far more resilient.
Secondly, a pair of real boots will be able to treat your feet far more kindly, offering support where it’s required and padding that’ll prevent your feet from rubbing and scraping against the inside of the shoe. Be sure to wear a pair of thick socks when you’ve having yours fitted – and to wear a pair of decent insoles if you’re looking for a great fit.
While we might think of poles as something that skiers use to aid in cornering and to prevent themselves from falling over, a good pair of hiking poles will serve when you’re going for a walk over rough terrain, too. They’ll stop you falling over, for one thing; but they’ll also help to remove the strain from your knees, placing it instead onto your shoulders. This is particularly useful for older hikers who’ve already developed knee problems – but it’s also worthwhile for younger ones as a preventative measure.
If you’re going to be going out for long periods of time, you’ll find it’s much more comfortable to wear clothes that are designed especially for walking. So be sure to ditch that jumper and pair of jeans – the right pair of walking trousers and a jack will serve much better – they’ll allow you to walk in comfort, without reducing yourself to a sweaty mess.
Keeping hydrated is an essential part of walking – and this means carrying with you a bottle of suitable water. But you might also want to give yourself a bit of a break midway round your route with something a little more palatable; that’s where a flask of hot coffee, tea, or chocolate might come in handy. Get a proper flask with a double-walled exterior, and you’ll be able to do so on even the coldest January afternoon. If you’re especially committed to the cause, you might even get yourself a portable coffee grinder and filtering system – such devices are widely available nowadays as all-in-one integrated units.
If you’re going to be going out into the countryside, then you’ll want to be sure that your boot is protected against damage. Once you’ve been for a walk – however brief – around a muddy forest, you can be sure that the aforementioned boots will be caked in dirt. If you’re taking a dog with you for the trip, then this danger will be all the greater – when you come to bring your muddy equipment and animal back home with you, you’ll likely inflict considerable damage on the upholstery.
It’s here that boot liners are so useful. They’re designed to sit just within your car’s boot, forming a protective barrier between your dog, bike, or walking boots and your car’s precious upholstery, and saving you a packet on valeting bills in the process. The most effective liners are those which are made to measure for a given model of car – you’ll find Audi, Mercedes and Range Rover boot liners available from specialist outlets on the internet.