Chafing. Nobody likes to talk about it. It's right up there with hemorrhoids and herpes as topics for polite conversation. But if you're walking for exercise, especially if you're just beginning and you're seriously overweight, it's something you need to know about. Because it's quite painful, and if not deal with, can cause serious problems. I know a guy I work with who had to be hospitalized because his chafing got so bad that it would not stop bleeding. Of course, most of the time, it's not that serious. But it can really interfere with your fitness walking efforts. You can lose a couple days or a couple weeks, depending on how different it is. And for beginning fitness walkers, the last thing that they need to do is lose their momentum. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent chafing.

If you want to prevent chafing, you should wear loose fitting shorts, preferably knit, such as long gym shorts. What causes chafing is your upper thigh rubbing against the material in the clothing you're wearing. It's not something you really notice until it's too late. Because in your everyday non-workout life, your thigh is constantly rubbing against your pants. You're used to it, and it's not a problem because you're not moving around enough for it to really affect you. Then, when you head out to walk, and start taking several thousand steps an hour, you do not pay any attention to the rubbing because you're accustomed to it. You do not really notice it until it becomes painful, which means the chafing has already begun. So wear loose fitting shorts. And, ideally, you should wear nothing under your shorts. That's right; no underwear. You're going commando!

A second option is to wear sweat pants. They're not really "cool" anymore, but if you're not worried about that, and you want to prevent chafing, they're great. That's because they have no seams. Seams are usually the culprit in chafing. They're the part of your pants that are rubbing up against your leg. Some people have found that lathering their thighs up with petroleum jelly works wonders. The jelly makes the sweat pants actually stick to your thigh, so there's no rubbing at all.

Use whiche method works for you, either shorts or sweats. The good news is that once you've lost a lot of weight, chafing becomes less and less of a problem, because your thighs do not take up near as much room in your pants. Until then, just follow these guidelines and you can walk for weight loss without fear of chafing.