Walking is a great way to lose weight and get more active. It is a perfect form of exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels – it’s free and simple and one of the easiest ways to get fitter.
There are many health benefits in walking: Regular walking has shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 Diabetes, Asthma, Stroke and even some Cancers.
Before you begin regular walking I recommend you invest in pair of walking shoes or trainers. Make sure that these are comfortable, provide adequate support and don’t cause blisters. If you start taking regular, longer walks you may want to invest in a waterproof jacket and some walking boots for more challenging routes.
Start slowly and try to build your walking regime gradually. You can start with a strolling pace and then progress to brisk walking and then fast walking. To get the health benefits from walking, you need to be walking at a moderate-intensity – aerobic activity. In other words, it needs to be faster than a stroll. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you are walking fast enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat.
Try to walk 10,000 steps a day. Most of us walk between 3,000 and 4,000 steps a day anyway, so reaching 10,000 isn’t as daunting as it might sound.
If to begin with, you can only walk fast for a couple of minutes, that’s fine. Don’t overdo it on your first day. You can increase your pace and distance of your walking routes gradually.
From walking to the shops or part of your journey to work, to walking the dog and organised group walks, try to make every step count. Important thing is to stay motivated and make it a habit.
Tips on how you can include walking into your daily routine:
• Walk part of your journey to work.
• Walk to the shops.
• Use the stairs instead of the lift.
• Leave the car behind for short journeys.
• Walk the kids to school.
• Do a regular walk with a friend.
• Go for a stroll with family or friends after dinner.
Mix it up to add variety.
Pick interesting routes such countryside walks with the family, park walks etc. Just remember to take it slowly at first, but then build up to a faster pace as your fitness improves.
You can also join a walking group such as an organised Ramblers group. Walking in a group is a great way to start walking consistently, make new friends and stay motivated.
Set yourself a goal. You can walk 1,000 steps in around 10 minutes. Pedometers are a fun way to keep track of your walking. Use a pedometer to work out your average daily steps and then start adding those extra steps. Or maybe try setting a goal to enter a sponsored walk or entering a fun run. This will give you something to aim towards and ensures you keep to regular planned walking sessions.
Get yourself outdoors and start walking and maximise the health benefits. The important thing is to stay motivated and make it a lifestyle habit.
Health. Happiness. Success.