It’s no secret that I’ve been on a walking program lately – counting up towards 14,000 daily steps and that ever elusive 6-mile mark.
Besides sturdy shoes and comfortable clothes, a hat and sunglasses, (maybe sunscreen and mosquito repellent), about the only other thing I need for walking is a ready water supply.
Dehydration in sweltering, humid weather, exacerbated by exercise, can cause all sorts of nasties – cramping, exhaustion, headaches, dizziness. If you don’t replace the fluids you sweat out, you can suffer from heat stroke or worse.
I always have water, usually a frozen bottle I can carry with me, letting it melt as I go. That way, I don’t drink too fast, and my water lasts throughout my entire walk… and it isn’t warm from being gripped in my hot, sweaty hands.
Since I’ve already taken precautions against heat stroke, blisters, and malaria, I’ve discovered that my icy water jug has many other uses on my sometimes tedious, 90-minute jaunts around the neighborhood.
- A ready ice pack for injuries – I have rheumatoid arthritis, and sometimes it goads me while I’m out, particular in my lower back. The ice helps take the sting out of the aches and pains.
- A defense against unruly dogs and/or their owners – local city ordinances require that pet owners keep dogs restrained either on a leash, or in a fenced yard. The exception is if said dog responds to owner commands. Most don’t… hence the need for a cudgel. One I would prefer to use on said owners when faced with a growling, snarling dog.
- A deterrent against speeding – I walk through residential communities, which for the most part, are blessed with ample sidewalks. The average speed limit there is 25 mph. The average motorist exceeds that limit by a minimum of 10 mph. A hefty ice bottle, thrown overhand, works wonders to convince them to slow down.
- A karaoke mic (particularly useful if walking with headphones) – I listen to music while I walk, and sometime even play a little air guitar. I worry what the neighbors might think – talking to myself, flailing my hands. If I engage my karaoke-slash-water bottle microphone, I’ll just be seen as eccentric.
- Therapy for edema – I can’t wear any rings when I’m on long walks because my hands swell like Vienna sausages. It’s a common, relatively harmless, occurrence during exercise, but it’s annoying. The cold helps lessen the bloating effects.
- Hand weights – a 20 oz. bottle frozen solid weighs about, well 20 ounces. (that’s a pound and a quarter.) Even such a light weight, lifted constantly for 30 minutes (or however long it takes to empty), is of some benefit.
I really should offer my services as a fitness trainer.