I’ve read a lot of different articles about how to do long distance walks and stay healthy. There are a lot of pieces of advice out there, so I thought it would be helpful to compile some of the key tips I’ve learned from to help out like-minded folks who might be thinking about hitting the trail in the near future. These are just a few of the things I’ve gotten from different websites and fellow walkers, but I’ve definitely found them useful, and I hope you will too.
Before you actually go on your walk, one excellent way to prepare is to top your body up on fuel by eating a really diverse and healthy diet. You should make sure to get even more servings of fruits and vegetables and plenty of protein to help get your muscles ready for the road. One trick I learned from the online walking community is to eat more meals but smaller meals, because you get the same amount of food, but it’s easier on your digestion and it trains your body to expect less at one time and have a more realistic sense of what “full” means in your stomach. The key things to stock up on in your diet are fresh fruits and vegetables. You also should seek out things with lots of iron and zinc like lean meats and fish for their omega 3’s.
I’ve also read that it’s even more important to hydrate before you start your long walk than it is to hydrate during the walk, even though it’s clearly something to focus on when you’re walking. I’ve heard that 2 gallons is a good amount to aim for over the course of the day, but I find that a water bottle every hour or so gets me there without trying. The idea is that the residual water in your body will help you out just as much as what you take in when you drink on the go.
Once you’re well underway, you should be drinking water at least every ten minutes, or as often as you get thirsty. As long as you’re never letting yourself get thirsty for more than a minute or two, you’ll be safe.
Here’s an interesting one: clip your toenails before you set out. Apparently, long distance walkers can often lose toenails if they’re left untamed, and that doesn’t sound pleasant at all. So, I always give mine a good clipping as a precaution. I also find that these seamless socks they have nowadays do wonders to keep my toenails from catching while I’m walking.
This one makes a great deal of sense, but it’s something you might not do as much as you ought to without prompting: stretching while you walk. Whenever you’re stopped, pulling your knee into your chest stretches out the glutes, and pulling your arms forward and backward to stretch out your shoulders is a very good idea, especially if you’re wearing a pack!
And finally, you’ll need good walking shoes, and you can read about my personal favorites in one of my other posts!
Feel free to send me any additional tips you might have, since I want this to be one of the most helpful lists you can find on the internet!