How to Walk Around Town

I’m not very good at walking around towns. Whether it’s shopping or just sightseeing, my legs and shoulders start to hurt after a while (much worse if it’s hot) and I get irritable soon after. I don’t know whether this is a common problem, but I guess there must be other people afflicted. I’ve been trying to figure out ways around this recently, and I think I’ve nearly solved the problem. Here’s what worked for me.

  • Stretch before leaving the house. It sounds silly, but this has had by far the greatest impact for me. I don’t know the names of the muscle groups, but I stretch the back of the lower leg, the front and back of the thigh and roll my shoulders. If you feel yourself tightening up again then stretch while you’re out. If you’re uncomfortable doing this in public, do it in the changing room while trying on some clothes 🙂 While you’re there, yell ‘Er, I’m out of toilet paper’. Ok, don’t do that.
  • Breathe properly. I realised that I was taking fairly shallow breaths while walking around (probably because crowds make me nervous). No need for hyperventilation, but making yourself take normal breaths can really help.
  • Have enough to drink. Carry a bottle of water, or regularly stop at cafes.
  • Don’t get too hot. By all means take a coat if you’re worried it’ll get cold, but do take it off and tie it around your waist if you start to feel uncomfortable. For whatever dumb reason I didn’t do this for years. I must have been attention-seeking or something 🙂
  • Start looking for somewhere to eat as soon as you start to feel hungry. Sometimes it can take a while to find the right place, and I always get very irritable when I haven’t had enough to eat.
  • Related to #5 – carry a small Mars bar or similar to tide you over and boost your sugar levels. It’s amazing how a burst of sugar can help!
  • If you’re carrying a bag or anything that you hook over one shoulder (a camera, in my case) swap shoulders fairly frequently. This eases the pressure and can stop one particular shoulder hurting.
  • If you’re driving, park somewhere that gives you a ticket that you pay on your return. This stops you having to rush around, and you can have drinks etc. when you feel like it, without having to worry about what time the parking expires.