Summer Walking Tips

Unless you live underground, you know that summer days in our region can range from sunny and pleasant to beastly hot. Throw in the ever-present humidity, and you’ve got conditions that require a little preparation before venturing out for a walk. WalkArlington wants to make sure your summer walks are as safe and comfortable as possible, so here are a few tips:

Time of Day:  Take advantage of long summer days by walking in the early morning or evening. You’ll enjoy cooler temperatures and time to plan ahead for - or reflect back on - your day.

Clothing:  If you choose to walk in the early morning or at dusk, be sure to wear reflective materials like a wristband, vest, or belt. You can also sport a blinking LED light. No matter what time you walk, wear light-colored clothing, both for safety and to keep cool.

Weather Conditions: Summer can bring everything from extreme heat to fast-moving thunderstorms, so check the weather forecast before heading out. Limit your walking on Code Red ozone-level days.

Sun Protection: If it’s daylight, wear sunscreen! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest wearing sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 15 or higher and with both UV-A and UV-B protection. And it works best to apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before you head out.

Water:  Drink plenty of water before, during, and after walking to prevent dehydration. There are plenty of types of water bottles and carriers so carrying a bottle won’t slow you down.

In addition to heeding these tips, always pay attention to your surroundings. It might be tempting to take a cell phone or listen to music while you walk, but being unaware of sights and sounds can mean missing important safety cues. You’ll also miss out on all sounds of the natural environment and the opportunity to clear your mind while you exercise your body!

For more safety tips on walking in the hot and summer weather, also check out the Summer Walk Guide (PDF, 194 KB.  Adbobe Reader required.)

Did You Know?

50% of all trips Americans make are less than 3 miles; 40% less than 2 miles, 28% less than 1 mile.

U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 2009

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