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5 Walking for Health Roadblocks and How I Get Around Them

Walking, we worked so hard to get good at it as we toddled through the beginning of our lives.  Now, we’ll find any reason to get out of doing it.


The reasons we use tend to be the same—sore feet, no time, too tired, to name a few. 


But now you’ve reached a place where you’re tired of feeling tired.  Maybe you’re done not feeling good in your own skin.  You’re ready to do something about it.


Motivation is a powerful tool to getting started.  You’ll also need strategies to overcome the five common-place roadblocks that can get in your way.


1.       My feet hurt.

 Bad shoes will keep you off your feet every time.  They are not comfortable and do not give good support to your feet.


They feel too tight and pinch.  When you’re done walking in them, your feet hurt.  You may be feeling pain in your knees, hips, and back as well.


The way I get around this is by making sure I’ve got great shoes to walk in.


According to Harvard Health Publishing, what you are looking at for your walking shoes is stability, material, length, space, and cushioning.


Shoes for exercise are not always the most stylish, though they can be.  I lucked out a few weeks ago with a new snazzy pair of Gel-Excite 10 Asics that feel like heaven to my feet. 


I walk on sidewalks, pavement, trail, and beach.  These runners translate well to all those places. 


Do not take my word for it, though.  Every foot is different.  You want to try on sneakers in the store.


When trying on shoes, you want to be aware of a few things.  The first is fit. 


You want to have enough room to wiggle your toes but not so much that your heels slip out of the shoes.


 The tips of your toes should not be touching the inside of the toe box.  There should be about an ½ inch of space past the tip of your longest toe to the interior of the shoe.


I have become a bit of a shoe-shopping expert through trial and error.  When I shop, I have the socks I will be typically wearing to exercise.


 I wear orthotic inserts for comfort and support.   I have them with me when trying on shoes as well.


If you wear any type of insert, choose shoes that you can easily remove the factory-made inserts from so you can get yours in. 


If the inserts are glued in the shoes, just put them back on the shelf.  In my experience, you will never get the whole insert out.


Go shoe shopping later in the day.  It allows your feet to warm up and spread out fully.  


Timing is everything, and sometimes shopping happens in the morning.  If I have go shopping in the morning, I do it after I have done my morning walk so my foot is pretty warmed up. 


The material of the shoe should have some give to accommodate the natural movement of your foot.  You also want some good cushioning in the shoe to absorb the shock of your foot striking the ground.


Last thing, you get what you pay for.  You don’t have to buy the most expensive shoes out there.  But if you buy cheap, your feet are going to feel it. 


2.      There’s no place to walk.


Whether you’ve moved to a new place, or you are just getting started with a walking routine, finding places to walk can at first seem daunting.


Through my experience with a few moves in my life, I have always found places to walk.  They just may not be obvious until you know the area.


Whether you live in a city, suburb, the mountains or the shore, there are great, and safe, places to go walking.


You can start with an online search like the one I did:  Walking Trails in Ocean County, NJ.  That search gave me 20 trails including Cattus Island County Park in Toms River and Sawmill Trail in Brick Township.


I also found a website, TrailLink, that gives trail information throughout the United States.  It is run by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, (RTC). 


This organization was started over 30 years ago.  Their mission is to preserve, from coast to coast, the nation’s disused railroad corridors by turning them into trails for public use.


RTC has an app that gives you access to trail maps throughout the United States.


I tested it out and found the Barnegat Branch Trail.  The app tells you where a trail is, how long it is, and points of access. 


It also details the types of trail surfaces you’ll encounter and what activities, like biking and inline skating, are welcome.


I appreciated the reviews they have as well.  It is a very interactive app, that will help you get out there and enjoy the trails you find.


The app is available to download in both the Apple App Store and Google Play. 


There is a free version.   It allows you to view their trail maps, post reviews, share photos, save your favorite trails, and learn about new ones.


The paid version ($29.99/yr.) gives you all the free stuff.  It adds unlimited maps to download to offline, creating and saving guidebooks, print-friendly PDF trail guides, driving directions to trails, and more.


I would start with the free version.  If you find you are ready to take your walks into more adventuresome territory, the paid version will be very handy to have.


3.      Killing the first walk kills you.


If you have not been out walking for a while, you can anticipate being a little muscle sore the day after.  That is, unless you are going to go for broke and walk miles your first time out…


I learned this the hard way, repeatedly. 


The first time I did distance walking it was in a walk-a-thon.  Apparently, young and indestructible was my thing back then. I almost didn’t finish and was laid up for a week with a swollen ankle.


Wisdom does not always come easy and there have been other incidents along the way.  Every time I suffered a case of exercise amnesia it left me sore for days keeping me on the sidelines.


I have now learned when returning to exercise of any kind, to pace myself. 


A little sore means you challenged your muscles.  A lot of sore leads to potential injury and keeps you from getting out there again any time soon.


When I got back to walking for exercise, I started light and worked my way up to what is now my daily 3.5 to 4 miles a day.


Listen to your body.  If you are a little sore for a day or two, you did well and enough. 


Stay at that length of time and/or distance until you don’t get sore.  Then it’s time to add a little more.


You are not in competition and have nothing to prove to anyone.  You can start with just walking around the block to get started. I did.


 Remember, everyone starts as a beginner, so don’t sweat it.


4.      Passing out is a bad sign.


Another hard-won lesson for me.  I was in Florida, in July, with a start time of 10:30 AM.  Halfway through the walk I nearly passed out. 


And then I learned…


While you are walking, your body is trying to maintain its appropriate core temperature, so, you sweat (especially in Florida in July).   That fluid must be replaced for your body to work efficiently.


A general rule to follow is, for every mile you go, you want to top off your fluids.  If you’ll be out for more than two hours of walking, electrolytes may be beneficial too.


If you are not a good water drinker, you need to start now.  Even going out for short walks can be a challenge if you start out dehydrated. 


Bring a water bottle to sip from as you get started.  Set a goal for when you’ll have some water on your walk.


Starting off with around the block?  Great, have some water when you’re halfway.


Creating the habit now, will make it second nature as the length of your walks grow.


As I am walking a few miles every day, I have a water bottle I take on the walk.  There is another one waiting for me when I get back to my car or home. 


I am happy to report, that I am able to walk at any time of year now without incident.  And you can too.


5.      It’s too late and/or I’m too busy.


There is a rare breed of motivated people who will get out there at the end of their day to walk.


I am not one of them.  If exercise is left to the end of my day, it goes by the wayside for, well, any reason I can come up with. 


I may have had a busy day and am too tired to do it.  I may also have other events or obligations for the evening, so no way do I have time to get out there to exercise.


Because I now don’t like missing out on my walks, I do them in the morning.  I go right after breakfast. 


Walking in the morning gets my brain and body going.  When I get back, I am awake and clear-headed.  I am then ready for whatever my day holds for me.


As you get consistent about walking for exercise, you will figure out what time of day works for you.  Maybe you are one of the rare end-of-day breed.  


Get into a schedule that works for you and your life.  Be flexible because life can throw curve balls.  It’s better to change your time, than to get away from something you enjoy that is good for you.


Time to get walking:


From getting the best shoes for you, to finding your favorite trail, you are prepared to get out and get moving. 


Find the time that works for you to get out there regularly.  Remember to bring your water bottle and listen to your body so you don’t overdo it.


Enjoy the warmer weather and longer days.   Drop us a comment to tell us about your favorite walking spot or the shoes that make walking a breeze for you.

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