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Walking in Tucson

Walking in Tucson requires that we have an increased awareness of the sun's intensity, and our need for water. And don't forget the feet that carry you! Here are some tips to remember:

Sun Protection

If you plan to be out in direct sunlight for more than 20 minutes, be sure and use sunscreen. Shorter time exposure to sunlight can fulfill your needs for Vitamin D, as our skin produces this vitamin from direct contact with the sun, but prolonged exposure may lead to skin cancer. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV light. Use a hat or sun visor to protect your face from sun exposure.
 

Water

Water is an essential for life. Before beginning a UA walking route, drink a cup of cool water. Your water needs will vary with the temperature and how much you perspire. An easy solution to keeping hydrated is to take a water bottle with you, and drink as needed. You can judge your state of hydration by your urine color. It should remain a pale yellow color even after a vigorous walk. If it's a darker color, you should drink more fluids. If you perspire heavily, a sports-type drink (which includes electrolytes like sodium, potassium and glucose) is the fluid of choice.
 

Shoes

Find a walking shoe that fits well to prevent injury and discomfort. Use a cotton sock to keep away moisture and keep feet relatively dry. Change into comfortable well-fitting shoes during your walks, and change back into your work shoes to begin work again.
 

Energy for the Route

Most of our designated routes for walking are not geared for more than 30-60 minutes. You may choose to carry your lunch with you, and take a halfway break to stop and eat. For a break time walk, munching on a healthy snack may help to boost your energy. Some good choices include fresh fruit, nuts and raisins, fresh carrot and pepper slices, fig bars and graham crackers. By eating a healthy diet throughout the day, your body will have all the nutrients it needs to function at its peak. Check out the American Dietetic Association's website www.eatright.org (link is external) , www.healthierus.gov (link is external), or www.mypyramid.gov (link is external) for tips on good nutrition.
 

Use of a Pedometer

Recent research (Journal of the American Medical Society, 298(19), 2296-2304, Nov 2007) indicates that pedometers may help people walk more in a day. Rather than the general admonition to walk briskly for 30 minutes a day, you might want to consider investing in a good pedometer. This small rectangular gadget attaches to your waistband, about 6 inches to the left or right of your belly button (*or centered above your knee, as 6 inches can be a lot on a small person!). It keeps track of the number of steps you take in a day. The current recommendation is to walk 10,000 steps in a day to help keep your body fit and burn those extra calories. In general, walking 2000 steps burns approximately 100 calories.