Top Ten Outdoor Walking Tips
This is the second blog post in a series about Falls Risk Reduction. Friends Life Care provides you with a list of important things to watch out for when you leave your home and go walking.
Tips to keep in mind when walking outdoors
1. First and foremost, look after yourself – exercise at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week, eat right, have routine eye and ear examinations and take medications exactly as prescribed.
2. Always wear comfortable, well-fitting walking shoes or boots, with low heels and firm soles.
3. Carry as little as possible. Take advantage of home deliveries, use a bundle cart or get help.
4. Avoid distractions. Limit conversations with companions so you can concentrate on uneven sidewalks, street curbs, cracked sidewalks, oncoming bicycles, cars and other pedestrians.
5. Give yourself plenty of time. Plan your trip so you don’t have to hurry. Never try to beat the traffic – or the light.
6. Cross the street only at a crosswalk or intersection.
7. Always use your assistive device (e.g., cane or walker) when leaving your home. If you are starting to feel unsteady, consider being evaluated for an assistive device. Many people use a walking stick for extra balance. Make sure the device you use is adjusted for your height.
8. When possible, avoid outside walking in inclement weather.
9. If you must go out in winter conditions or inclement weather, be sure to wear proper foot gear.
10. Your vision – Allow time for your eyes to adjust when going from different levels of lighting. For example, allow your eyes to adjust when walking in the daylight then entering a store or eating at a restaurant then leaving in the evening with nighttime lighting.
Walking is the most basic form of transportation. It can also be an enjoyable exercise that helps keep you fit. Walking is good for your heart and has many other health benefits. Best of all, just about anyone can do it. We all need to keep moving; but it is important to remember to use good judgement and avoid unnecessary risks!
Sue Parker, OTR, CCM and Friends Life Care Coordinator
Sue is an occupational therapist and certified care manager with over 40 years of experience. Her professional background includes home care, rehabilitation, acute care and long-term care. She has held local, state, and national positions. At Friends Life Care, Sue specializes in wellness and prevention strategies for successful aging. She has been a caregiver, personally, for over 20 years and understands firsthand the needs of members, families and caregivers.