Walking’s abundance of freedom and pleasure lies in its deficiency—a deficiency in required equipment, clothing, and accessories. Every time I head out for a walk on an area trail, I watch the bicyclists and in-line skaters prepare them- selves. They unload equipment, adjust gears and wheels, strap themselves in, buckle up, pull on helmets, and pack up and slip on other gear. Although cycling and skating are certainly great and healthful activities—and ones I also participate in—the preparation on a day-to-day basis seems like an ordeal. Me, I just lace up my shoes, make sure I have on the right jacket or hat, and hit the trail or sidewalk. Now that’s freedom!
The key item in every walker’s closet is a well-fitting pair of supportive shoes. Because shoes are all you really need to embark on your walking program, it’s important to know how to choose and take care of them, plus how to know when to replace them. There are other types of apparel and gear that walkers might find well suited for their needs, as well as extras that you might decide you want for the added motivation—or toy factor. You might decide to invest in a few pieces of apparel or various accessories as you get more involved. You must also consider fuel and fluids—not to be forgotten even if this is “just” walking because you still sweat and expend energy. Once outfitted, you’ll be ready to head off to your free health club—your area parks, neighborhoods, and malls.