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Walking and Running: Essential Gear Plus

April 10th, 2010

Get decked out in the right equipment

When you’re serious about staying in shape, going for a walk or run involves more than just pulling on a pair of old sneakers and heading out. If you want to be comfortable, stay safe and have fun you’ll want to consider a few essential pieces of equipment.

What you’ll need
Shoes - Asics, New Balance, Saucony, Nike, Adidas - the list of respected athletic shoe brands is long. Make sure when you’re *choosing shoes[Athletic Shoes] that they are made specifically for the activity you’ll be doing. Walkers have different needs than runners and require different footwear.
Warm weather clothing - Since your plan is to work up a sweat you should be wearing moisture-wicking clothes that pull the sweat away from your body and keep you cool and dry. Cotton is an ok choice, but it can get wet and cause chafing. Clothes should be comfortable and non-restrictive. It’s handy to have a zippered pocket somewhere on your outfit to hold house keys or other valuables.
Cold weather clothing - If there’s a chill in the air it’s best to layer clothing on the body and keep extremities warm with lightweight mitts and a hat. Wind resistant outer layers keep away cold breezes. You’ll be glad if you splurge on thermal socks. If you live in an area that gets lots of snow and ice, strap a pair of Ice Joggers over you’re shoes; they have tiny plastic spikes on the bottom to keep you from slipping.
Skincare - Skin lotions and lip balms don’t exactly sound like walking and running essentials but they are. Products with an SPF will protect you from the sun’s damaging rays all-year-round, while extra moisturizing products will keep your skin from getting dry and chapped in the winter.

Extras
Pedometer - Basic *Pedometers[Choosing the Best Pedometer] can be bought for as little as $10, or more advanced ones for as much as $50. The better models will include a calorie counter, heart rate monitor, distance calculator and be able to differentiate between walking and jogging steps. Some keep track of your steps for up to a week at a time and allow you to upload your data to computer.
Tunes - Whether you want a top-of-the-line iPod to hold your library of 10,000 MP3s, or a bargain basement player that’ll hold 250, having some sort of music or instructional tape to keep you motivated is a good idea.
Nordic walking poles - Want to boost your calorie burn by as much as 46 percent without feeling like you’re working that much harder? How about reducing tension in your neck and shoulders just by walking in a way that also reduces stress on the knees? These handy poles are the answer. They generally cost about $70 to $100, and come with tips to help you tackle all terrain, including metal tips for slip-free winter walking.

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