Walking to work, or walking to your nearest transit stop is a convenient way to incorporate exercise into your commute. The Center for Disease Control recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases and cancers. A 2010 Neurology study found that walking just 5 miles/week reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by 50%.

There are also societal benefits of walking. Walking allows you to increase your sense more sense of community and civic engagement, patronizing local businesses, and creating more vibrant communities through the use of pedestrian friendly design.

Tips for outfitting yourself

  • Find comfortable walking shoes that fit, consider going to a walking specific store to be fitted properly.
  • Replace shoes when you feel the support is gone or when you have holes in your sole or have worn out the traction
  • Pay attention to how your feet feel, if you start getting blisters or aches and pains, it’s probably time to replace your shoes.

Walking in the Winter

  • Layering clothes is key, you will likely start off cold but after a few minutes you’ll warm up, so be prepared to shed layers as you need to. Next to your skin you should wear a wicking layer that repels sweat (do not wear cotton), next layer should be an insulating layer such as wool or fleece, and last layer should protect against wind and rain.
  • If it’s icy, considering investing in ice traction devices for your shoes, most can easily fit in a bag or purse until needed.
  • Think function over fashion, buy winter boots which insulate, keep snow and ice out, and provide traction.
  • Remember to be visible at night and in the morning with reflective gear such as: reflective taping on clothes or a reflective vest.
  • Report walkways which are not plowed to your city officials.

Safety tips

  • During the shorter days of winter, it’s important to take extra precaution when walking around when it’s dark out.
  • Start alert and pay attention to your surroundings, this includes limiting your time talking or texting on the phone, you can easily become distracted and hurt yourself or make yourself an easy target for attack.
  • Walk in well-lit areas where there is a lot of other people walking around, stay off of dark foot paths at night.
  • Always walk with a purpose, head up, walk confidently and quickly, don’t wear headphones, you might not be able to hear someone approaching.
  • Try to walk with others if you can.