walking faq part four



I have a couple of problems when it comes to walking shoes. I am flat-footed and need a wide-width shoe. I also have weak ankles.
My partner and I live on a farm and keep the boundaries of the pasture mowed to walk around. We try to make at least 3 to 4 rounds of the 1.2-mile course each evening.
What kind of shoe should I look for ? A "lite" hiking shoe? A pair of good walking shoes?
I have bought athletic shoes in the past, but they made my arches hurt.
Tonya Flinn

Dear Tonya,
If you're walking on mowed pasture land, I would think you'd want something with a little ankle support, even if you didn't have weak ankles.

High-cut, light-weight hikers would be nice, especially if you could find some that are water-resistant. I imagine you soak up a lot of dew on those walks!



About four months ago, I quit smoking after 30 years of smoking at least a pack a day. I also started a walking regimen, which has helped me keep my sanity and control my weight. But I've been having trouble with dizziness after about a mile of relatively sedate walking. The effects go away if I slow my breathing or breathe out of cupped hands. Have you heard of this from other ex-smokers?

Dear Anne,
First, let me congratulate you on starting a walking program in addition to quitting smoking. Smart move! Did you know that fifteen minutes of walking is equal in relaxation power to a mild tranquilizer? And the side effects are better circulation and lung power.
About your symptoms: Please call your doctor about the dizziness you're experiencing when walking. If you are hyperventillating, then breathing into cupped hands is a good temporary solution. But your doctor needs to rule out more serious problems.

It may just mean that your lungs have not cleared themselves of the effects of years of smoking, and you're not getting enough oxygen to sustain your pace, even though it seems sedate. Most likely, you'll improve with practice -- step by step.




I walk early in the morning because it's the only free time I have. But my husband read something about early morning being the most dangerous time to walk. I've lost about 40 pounds and don't want to give it up! Do you have any information about this?

Dear Marsha,


First of all, I'm wondering how dangerous it can be if you've been out there walking for a year, and the only thing that's frightened you is your husband!
I'm not sure if you're talking about danger from predators (human or otherwise), or from automobiles.
I called the National Safety Council for pedestrian/crash statistics. They do know that people are at increased risk of accidents in the early evening (particularly every fall when Daylights Savings Time ends and we're caught in the dark a little earlier than usual). If this is your concern, you can always just take a few days off at this time of year. Statistically, it gets better right away.
More importantly, can you afford to be controlled by statistics? Most people walk in the morning to start off their day with an energizing activity and get their exercise out of the way before other responsibilities overwhelm them. If visibility is the problem, make sure you're highly visible when you go for your morning walk. Wear reflective clothing, and make sure your walking shoes have reflective heels and shoe laces. Buy a flashing light to attach to your jacket. (Cycling stores carry them.) Carry a flashlight in your hand and swing it back and forth so the light can be seen front and back. Stay on sidewalks if at all possible.

If it's predators that concern you, your best bet is to find a buddy or a dog to accompany you. If you must walk alone, make sure you walk with confidence, carry a spray deterrent and don't walk at exactly the same time or along the same route every day. Someone could be waiting for you if you make yourself too predictable.