As far as equipment needed for walking…it can be as much or as little as I like. I have different shoes to wear in case it’s rainy or wet, hot or cold; the shoe styles range from barefoot-like to ultra supportive, to boots for deep snow. I might vary my dress depending on the weather or on my mode of walking; stay warm, stay dry or stay cool and wick away moisture. Sometimes I have to drive to a walk if I choose to visit a nearby forest preserve, the lakefront, or a rural place. I also have various playlists on my phone for different tempos during solitary walks – fast beat music if I need the motivation to keep up a pace, or slower paced if I am in the mood to have a relaxing walk. Hats – if it is very sunny, I wear a visor. If it’s cold – a headband for my ears; sometimes just wearing something with a hood is nice because it can be on or off. Mittens or gloves are great so that a person can walk with a natural arm swing- no hands in pockets.
I also have technology that will measure and quantify my walks, or help me out if I get lost, or ring, beep,or chime if someone needs me at the moment. One of my favorite tools/apps (because sometimes numbers get me going) is my nike+ sensor. I don’t mean to insert a commercial here or endorse a product, I am only reflecting on the fact that we live in a wonderful day and age because technology can do so much for us. I use my little sensor everyday. I slip it in or on my shoe, and it tracks my distance, time, pace and calories. I realize these are “ballpark” numbers – maybe not as accurate as they could be, but they work for me. I have been using this sensor for about three years. I have found the sensors last a little over a year’s time, if I only use them for my walks as compared to wearing it “pedometer-style” throughout the day. At around $25 dollars a sensor, it is worth the investment. The app is free on my iphone, and I am lucky enough to have a foot that loves nike shoes (again, not meant as an endorsement). If I use a little shoe pocket (amphipod) that fits onto my laces, I can also use the sensor with other brands of shoes. I love that the app tracks my history and sometimes shouts out congratulatory comments when I break a personal best. Of course I can go to the website and look at graphs and charts, but that’s where I draw the line.