May is national walking month and regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers.
It’s an easy activity to start doing and, besides the benefits above, it also can improve mental health, help with weight loss and muscle tone, boost vitamin D and increase your energy levels.
All you need are some comfortable clothes and shoes and then you’re ready!
Some tips for getting started
It might seem a bit strange to be offering advice on walking, but many of us don’t get enough exercise and it’s important to build up slowly with both the pace and length of your walks.
Try to aim for a pace slightly quicker than a stroll – you should be able to hold a conversation but feel like you’re doing a good amount of work! Towards the end make sure you slow up and ‘cool down’.
As with any physical activity, don’t ignore your body’s warning signs. If you experience any pain or discomfort then speak to your physio or GP, what starts as a small niggle could get worse and the earlier you get it looked at, the better.
When the sun is shining it’s much easier to head out for a walk, not so much when it’s cold or wet. Some ways to keep motivated include:
- Join a walking group
- Walk with a friend at the same time every week and stop for a coffee as a reward at the end
- Set yourself a goal and use a pedometer, fitbit or app to keep you on track
- Walk all or part of the way to work – try getting off the train a stop early
- Walk the kids to school, kids love to earn their ‘Walk on Wednesday’ badge
- Take the stairs not the lift, all those steps add up!
For more information take a look at these websites:
If you’re after an app to track your progress then try Mapmywalk or Moves to count steps.