Advice from a Professional Walker

Here’s how I like to walk for exercise. I would recommend it wholeheartedly, so that you don’t have to work out too strenuously. This is what I do: I think a reasonable, prudent amount of walking is to walk as long as it takes to have to remove a layer of clothing. When I am sweating sufficiently enough to remove a jacket, for example, that tells me that I have had a good workout. Obviously, I wouldn’t advise it in the winter, if, like me, you live in frigid, icy North Carolina, because it is cold and typically you need to wear each and every layer you own when outdoors. Especially if you’re from Florida and are used to blistering heat around the clock.

Now, my smart readers are probably already putting two and two together on this and have wondered just how many layers one should wear when going for a good cardio-vascular-pumping walk. I usually go with five or six: a t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, a light sweater, a light jacket and a heavier jacket. For colder weather, a scarf counts as a layer. Obviously, the warmer it is, the better. I suffer the least amount of time from over-exertion on warm days, as I need to remove a layer rather early on. Sometimes, I am just a few feet away from my driveway when I am forced to take off a jacket and return home for a snack – some good carbs and proteins to replenish my body after its taxing workout, of course – it’s a shame when this happens on a nice, sunny day when the birds are singing. I’d probably like to be outside longer on those days. But rules are rules.

Meanwhile, today, on a chilly February day, it was sunny outside and I made the mistake of thinking it would be a good day to walk. Wrong. I was so cold that I could not remove not one layer of clothing! Not even one of the seven scarves I put on, just to make sure my neck didn’t freeze. So, I had to keep walking for nearly a half an hour. I was forced to miss my mid-afternoon snack, which is very bad because I look forward to each and every one of my snack times during the day. I would still be walking now if I didn’t have to pick up my kids from school. Like I said, rules are rules. But I don’t think they should cause the children to have to suffer, do you?

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