Walking FAQ - Part One



I love walking to work, except for one thing: I sweat a lot. There is no place to take a shower at work. How do I walk this way and still smell like a rose at work? I walk about a mile to work, plus a mile at lunch to pick up my car.

Dear Anonymous,
I agree that walking to work is great. I also did the walk-to-work-then-walk-to-pick-up-the-car-at-lunch thing. Walking a mile only takes about 15 to 20 minutes, and I never found that I sweated excessively. Plus, a shower would have been way too much trouble for me.
I find that if I'm fresh from a morning shower before I start out on a walk of that length, I don't have any problems with odor. If this is not the case with you, however, I do have two suggestions.

First, know that caffeine and nicotine can step up your sweat output, so cut the morning coffee. (I'll assume you don't smoke.) Even a little less sweat may mean a lot more comfort. Second, use super antiperspirant, not just a deodorant. The active ingredient in antiperspirant, aluminum chloride, actually reduces sweat output. Regular antiperspirants have about a 4-6% concentration. Heavy duty types have up to 12% and can be purchased over the counter. The trick is to use them correctly. They work only when applied to dry skin. 



 Do you need to carry weights or do anything special to make sure that all parts of your body benefit from walking?


Dear Robin,
While you might want to begin some strength training exercises for your upper body to tone your arms or torso, I don't recommend walking with weights. Often you can get the same results by using    racewalking techniques, pumping your arms without a weight. Unfortunately, though, unless you use perfect form, you may injure your arm or throw off your gait by carrying a weight.
If you practice racewalking or heel-toe walking techniques, you will tend to work all your major muscle groups and get a total body workout. The arms and torso are brought into full play. And the lower body gets more of a workout than with everyday walking. If you're a beginner, don't sweat it. Just walk and enjoy it -- you're already working wonders!For more muscle development, a separate weight session might be helpful.
Ravi My wife is three months pregnant. Can she start walking now? Can she walk briskly? Please note that we live in a hot and humid place.

Dear Ravi,
While there is no reason a healthy young woman who is three months pregnant should not start an exercise walking program, your wife should discuss her exercise program with her obstetrician. If there are any special considerations regarding her health or the baby's health, the doctor can help your wife in making the best decisions.
Most pregnant women find walking pleasant. Brisk walking can help women gain energy and reduce tension. A walking program should not pose a threat to a normal pregnancy, provided your wife does not become overheated. But remember: Her pleasure, enjoyment and health are your paramount concerns. When in doubt, cut back a little and share your decisions with your Ob/Gyn. 
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