I've had an excellent walking year. Here are the things that helped me the most.
Nike+ Fuelband: I snagged one when they first debuted, and since the day I snapped it on my wrist, I doubled my steps per day, every day. Even on the gloomiest, lowest-energy days, I put in the steps it takes to make my NikeFuel goal. I walked a lot of hallways, and circled the work campus at least 500 times, just to see the NikeFuel guy do his happy dance each day when I reach my goal. (Compare Prices)
Brooks Running Shoes: I switched to Brooks Glycerin (Compare Prices) as my half marathon shoe. I have a neutral gait, and the Glycerin has just the right cushioning for longer distance. They come in widths so I can get the wide shoes I need to prevent bunion pain. Find the running shoe store in your area that sells Brooks and get fitted for the style that is right for you.
New Balance 890 Shoes: I love these lightweight shoes for my workday walks. When I'm circling the work campus to get in my steps, these are what I wear. I am very fleet of feet now when wearing them. They are for neutral feet, and although they have some cushioning, I keep them for the shorter walks of an hour or less. (Compare Prices)
FitFlops: My feet just love FitFlops. I can't wear their usual flip flop styles, but I wear their sandals that have a heel strap and their Ugg-like boots. (Compare Prices)
CalorieCount.About.com: I used our sister site, Calorie Count, to track my diet, exercise and weight throughout this year. I'm on a local diet meal program, Farm to Fit, eating a freshly prepared, locally-sourced 1200-calorie diet five days a week. I've lost 43 pounds this year. Using the Calorie Count online diet diary helped keep me faithful to my diet and not give in to temptation.
Half Marathons: I enjoyed eight large half marathons this year. If you are a beginner walker, the 13.1 mile/21 kilometer distance is one you can train for and be able to achieve by summer. How to train for a half marathon. If you are a seasoned walker, you can aim to improve your speed and endurance, or experiment with doing the run-walk technique.
Zumba! I love walking a little too much, so much that it is easy for me to avoid any other kind of exercise. But your muscles need more than walking to stay in balance. When I do Zumba! dancing, I can keep going for an hour and enjoy myself while doing lunges and squats cleverly disguised as dance steps. Sometimes you just have to trick yourself into doing what's right to get in shape.
Photo © Wendy Bumgardner