Charlie's Blog: 4 Walking Tips


4 Walking Tips

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.

I have been walking for a couple of years now. Technically, I have been walking since I was a toddler, but I was just fooling around then. I got serious after spending time in physical therapy relearning how to walk after my accident. I would like to keep walking though I still struggle with my balance. I walk daily now, and I have 4 tips that make my walking more enjoyable.

1. Wear sensible shoes.

I am not a podiatrist or a shoe expert. I am just someone who notices the gimmick shoes that have been popular for the last decade. One gimmick shoe would be the minimalist shoes or barefoot shoes. Another type of shoe are the maximalist shoes that look like pillows strapped to your feet. I call them Frankenstein shoes. Then, there are the walking shoes that look like rockers for your feet. I don't think these are safe. Then, there are trail shoes which are no different from regular shoes except for the aesthetics of the upper and some kind of grippy sole you don't need unless you are climbing mountains. I think this is just marketing to get you to buy an extra pair of shoes you don't really need.

My personal choice of walking shoe is the New Balance 608s which are cheap, basic, and comfortable. I wear them on all terrains. You will probably find another shoe to be a better wear. My advice is to ignore the marketing and get a sensible pair of shoes that work for you.

2. Get a boonie hat.

The boonie hat is my favorite style of hat to wear during the hot and sunny parts of the year. This brimmed hat keeps the sun off better than a ball cap. It also keeps rain out of your eyes if you get caught in a downpour. And the chin strap keeps the hat from blowing off your head on windy days.

3. Walk for time instead of steps or distance.

I do not own a FitBit or pedometer or smartwatch or any other fitness tracking device. Instead, I wear an old school Casio G-Shock that has a stopwatch and a timer. I usually set my timer for an hour and walk until I hear the beep on my watch. Longer or shorter walks are timed on the stopwatch.

Why does it matter? I think counting steps makes you OCD. When I walk, I walk. I don't try and pepper in steps throughout my day to get to that magical 10,000 steps. I don't look at my FitBit at 9:30 PM and start pacing the living room to get in those last 500 steps. Because I walk for time, I can schedule my walks and also forget those walks when I am done.

There isn't a lot of gear when it comes to walking, so I see those fitness trackers and the 10,000 step thing to be hype and marketing to sell products. I remember one co-worker who annoyed people to slip outside to smoke a cigarette. Then, she quit smoking and started walking except she would slip outside to get in her steps on her FitBit. The walking thing was as annoying as the smoking thing.

4. Walk without distractions.

I remember a story from a decade ago about a runner on a beach who was struck by a disabled airplane. The runner was listening to his iPod and didn't hear the plane or see it before it hit him. That is a fluke sort of story, and he might have been struck anyway without the distraction from the iPod. But I think he would have had a better chance of survival if he had been present instead of listening to his device.

I have never understood people who have to walk or run with earbuds or headphones. I can understood using this stuff on treadmills or stationary bicycles which are boring. But I think you are safer walking without those distractions in your ears. I also think you can enjoy the walk more when you endure the boredom a bit until your mind kicks in and allows you time and space to think deeply.


Those are my 4 walking tips that make my walks more enjoyable. There are plenty of other tips from other sources, but these are the ones unique to me. Walking is as simple as it gets.