Adventure Walking and Travel
Tips for Walking
Have you ever been taught to walk? Oh yes, you might reply---but have you? Really. Perhaps you were taught how to sit or stand after your first few baby steps. How you step, how you walk is all left to you. But Walk? Perhaps only models in our society are taught how to walk-but that type walking won't work on the road. Ha! Now this is "the Blessitt thing".
Go out and walk normally through soft dirt, sand or anywhere that leaves your footsteps. Go back and photo them, study them.
Often they look like this: Type A Footprints: They should look like this: Type B Footprints
1. Your heels come down wrong - notice how your shoe wears away on one side of the heel.
2. As your weight comes down and you push off, all your bones and ligaments are stressed because they are not properly in line.
3. If your feet are spread apart you use only part of your foot on the forward thrust as you step forward.
4. Your shoe twists and causes extra sole wear.
5. The mis-stepping leaves you a bit off balance.
6. All this causes you to burn extra energy which makes you tire.
With type B your entire bone, muscle and ligament structures are all in line. There is no twisting or tension at each stress point. Your body flows. When you step down on your heel it strides evenly, not on one side. As your weight and step moves forward the front of your foot now smoothly takes the weight and gives you a thrust forward. You push off with the ball of your foot, toes, and ankle as your leg now produces power. This is all one smooth, natural movement. It takes less energy, gives more power and causes less stress on the body system.
So remember, relax, walk relaxed, relax your shoulders, chest, arms, and then walk with your body straight up - not slumped over. Keep your feet straight and step forward completely coming off the front of your foot, now take in the beauty of your journey.
How to walk on different terrains:
1. Smooth track, sidewalks, paved roads - walk in full stride with feet pointed straight ahead stepping onto your heel, then on to the ball of the foot and pushing off through the toes. It should be no problem.
2. Grass, vines, tree limbs, rock - must change stride so that instead of lifting the back foot just above the ground, you must at the end of your step lift the back foot up several inches, move it forward still up then place it down not dragging the foot. This prevents the foot being caught in a vine, etc... and causing you to trip and stumble or fall. Remember up, forward then down - don't drag.
3. Ice, wet trail, wet grass, small gravel on the ground or pavement going down hill. Step forward more with your leg than your front foot. Do not push off with the front of your foot as you normally would because this would cause the shoe to slip. You need all the traction you can get, so step with the entire foot on the surface. Also when you step down, put the entire foot down at once, this again gives full foot traction. Not just the heel. In this way of walking you must shorten your stride to get full traction on each step. It also is very important so that if the gravel on the steep decline begans to slip your other foot is there quickly to keep you up because your stride is short.
4. When walking anywhere not familiar to you - you must keep watching where you step - all the time. Should someone be walking with you, talk but do not look. A rock sticks up and you step on one side of it and sprain your ankle. The ground surface may be loose and you slide, there is a hole in an unexpected place, a stick across the path and you trip. There is a bottle you step on or a can, or a wet spot. The sidewalk may be chipped out or a manhole with the top off. (A friend walking with me once stepped into a manhole and fell 10 feet into the pit just beside me!)
Remember on unknown surfaces to watch your step. Then stop and observe the beauty. Then walk on watching your step not the view around. Accidents happen at the most unexpected moments.
Walk at a good steady pace. Learn endurance! On long walks consistency is more important than speed. Some people go so fast that they burn out soon. Set a pace you can keep up hour after hour, day after day. Remember, even walking around the world is simply taking one step at a time. I've had people to walk with me and, wow, they go fast at first but by the second or third day they are exhausted or ready to go home.
I was once invited to a special reception that was given for me in the home of a Hollywood actor. After the dinner as I chatted with the Hollywood crowd a man said to me "I'm into sports and I run everyday." I replied, "And where are you going?" Tears filled his eyes as he said, "Nowhere! I just run around in circles! You walk, but you walk around the world, Jesus called you, you have a purpose, you love God, you love people, I just go in circles that's my life."
Tips for Buying Walking Shoes and Boots
Advice For Buying Walking Shoes - Boots You go into an air conditioned shoe store - the sales person measures your foot, width and length, says your size, then brings you a walking shoe or boot. You put it on and it fits - Â½ inch clearance for toe; the sides of your foot are pressing comfortable against the sides of the shoe, you walk around on the carpet and buy it!!! You then set off on a long hike-you are in trouble!!! Big Time.
1. Feet in the cool are smaller than in the heat. As you walk your feet swell in the heat as does your hands - just notice your ring finger as you walk.
2. Say your size is 10E in men's size, the shoes are basically all the same cut but not every person's foot is wide at the same point at the base of the little and big toe. The ball area of the foot varies from person to person. The shoe begins to cut into the toe at the wrong place for many people (me). Your little toe will blister and so will your big toe and in time you will develop bunions there or at the base of the big and little toes. I have to get a shoe normally two to three sizes bigger than the sales person recommends! Don't be sold by a sales person who is only taking a temporary job or working on commission and is truly not a foot expert. Get the shoe you want.
3. Should the shoe not be deep enough it will blister the top of your toes or foot. You need space up there.
4. Always wear the size sock you will be wearing when you walk, when you shop.
5. Get the shoe a bit big. You can get different type sock thicknesses to fill up space. Also, tighten or loosen your shoe laces for just the right feel - not too tight not too loose. From a cold mountain morning to the hot valley you may adjust your laces to compensate for the increase in size of your foot.
6. Keep your feet dry. I always now use shoes with Gortex lining to give complete waterproofing. Should you have to cross a stream, take off shoes, put them on your belt, wade over, dry feet and then put on your dry shoes. Should you be doing a lot of wading and must get feet and shoes wet, take along an extra insole and socks and keep dry. When you get to dry land, change and hang wet insole and socks on your backpack or belt. Change into the wet to wade again. Jam cloth or newspaper into the wet shoes to absorb the wetness, even a few minutes of this, changing paper several times will do wonders.
7. My idea of a shoe is this: our feet were made for walking. Perfectly designed by God for use in the perfect peaceful, sinless, Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve sinned then came, thorns, sweat, work, etc... People had to protect their feet from slippery rocks, sharp objects, thorns, gravel, nails, glass, razor blades, etc...and with carrying weight we need additional support and with slippery rocks, roads and mud we need grip and traction. We need in a walking shoe support, protection, traction, endurance, and comfort. The perfect shoe has all four plus good looks and that is not to be overlooked. I think we need to let our feet act normally - as barefoot yet protected in the shell called a shoe.
8. I recommend a leather shoe or mixture with fabric.
9. When you stop for a rest at least a few times a day, take off your shoes, socks and let them air. Your feet stay dry and comfortable. Perhaps a dash of powder.
10. You may want to change shoes with the walking condition. I sometimes use a very soft and comfortable shoe for mostly city and paved walking. The sole is soft, but does not last long. Soft flexible soles allow rock, etc...to push into your foot that in time can cause serious problems for the foot, stone bruises, etc... Also they are not safe against nails, thorns, and glass. I prefer now a well built, solid shoe with a long endurance outer-sole, protective under-sole from upward pressure like sharp stones and uneven surfaces.
11. Shoes with excellent grip is crucial. It is sad you can't test walk before you buy. Some of the latest models have grips along the sides and front of the shoe. It is great and helpful in wet, uneven, muddy, rocky surfaces.
12. Get a top of the line, best shock absorbent insole! I almost never wear the insole that comes with the shoe. Why, they are too hard. I take the insole out and put in a new insole that takes up to 50% of the shock from the foot. This is the only thing that makes a hard sole shoe workable for long distance walking and especially when carrying a heavy load also. Walking on hard surfaces pound on the foot sending shock to the ankles, knees, hips, back and neck. This can cause immediate pain to old injures or develops new damage. Absorb the shock in the insole, not the body!
13. Remember keep plenty of room inside - keep feet dry. Absorb the shock, protect the foot and remember 'whatever rubs will blister!'
14. Cleaning. There are so many different types of shoes that require different treatment. I won't get into the subject.
15. Weight. I tend to get the heavier shoe rather the ultra light. My expertise is distance and endurance not speed. Nice leather, all terrain type shoe with good soles and support is a bit heavier than the speed walking type shoe. I have walked further around the world than anyone and shoe weight has been for me no problem. The extra pound of comfort I gladly carry.
16. Price. "You get what you pay for!" As a rule, the most expensive is best. Ha! Some of you didn't like to hear that but to me it is true. Get the best. Look around at all the podiatrists and sports injury specialists and know people ruin their feet. In a foot there are 26 bones. All are connected by tissue ligaments and muscle. It is possible to grow older, and still by the grace of God be pain free as I am today. But remember - "a bad fit will ruin a good shoe". One sees walking shoes in a cheaper store for $40. It looks good and just down the way are shoes that look similar for $125 to $250. But looks are not the same as quality. Think of the cost of pain, and doctor bills. Also, how much do you spend in a year not just to eat food (you can get food cheap at short order burger places plus all the fat grease free) but you go to a nice place for quality food well prepared for a pleasure. The money you spend for the best shoe is well worth the price of comfort over pain. On the hiking trail just look at the people putting on Band-Aids and taking care of blisters.
"A farmer bought some mail order work boots for $40, he put them on and went to the field. When he returned home that evening his wife noticed two big holes cut out of each shoe at the little toe. Oh, how could you do that, and ruin those expensive shoes? I didn't ruin them, he replied with a grin. Each of those holes is worth $40!!!!!!!!"
17. Soles. I have had good, soft sole comfortable shoes that just do not last! One popular brand I have worn last only 150 miles on the road and they cannot be resoled. Other shoes last a long time but are just hard and without good traction and inflexible. One must get the proper blend of comfort, production and durability and then remember the shock absorbent insole.
"When He washed the disciples feet He sat down and said, "If your Lord and Teacher has washed your feet, you also ought to wash one anothers feet-- happy are you if you do it" - Jesus of Nazareth