It’s often overlooked as a decent form of exercise, but walking is one of the easiest ways to help burn off excess calories, build stamina, and improve your overall heart condition – plus it’s totally free! We’re not saying that you’ve got to walk for miles, but even just a ten-minute daily walk around the block to start off with will count towards your recommended daily exercise, and you can easily work your way up as your health gets better. Plus some fresh air and time out of the house can be great for your mental health too.
What do I need?
Well, other than a decent pair of trainers, walking requires no equipment. If you’re walking to work, you can pack a pair of nicer shoes in a bag and change them when you arrive, and for longer walks just remember to bring water and stay hydrated.
Am I doing it right?
Everyone will have different abilities, so the only person that will truly know if you’re doing it right is you. A brisk walk is faster than a stroll and should get your heart beat going a little faster than usual, with your breath becoming a little shorter and your body beginning to warm up – you don’t necessarily have to break a sweat like if you were running, you’re still burning some calories by being active!
My mobility is limited, what do I do?
If you have limited mobility, try to start off with smaller walks and increase this as you feel yourself improving. If you find walking puts pressure on your joints, then swimming is a great activity to improve this and will help by strengthening your muscles as well as your breathing. If you’re still struggling, try to find ways of using your leg muscles in whatever way you can for ten minutes, whether it’s lifting them up and holding them upright whilst you’re sat down, or just circling your feet as you watch the TV.
How can I fit this in every day life?
If you’ve got a busy schedule, walking is an activity that’s easy to fit in. You can get off the bus one stop early, or park your car at the end of the supermarket car park, take stairs instead of the lift and anything else that will contribute to your daily steps.
How can I make walking more fun?
Music is a great way of having more fun on walks. Get together some motivational songs onto a playlist and stick your headphones on when you go out for a walk. Having a walking buddy is another way to stay on track and have fun, as you will be able to motivate each other as you go along, and the time will fly by as you get talking. Try walking different routes each day if you get fed up of seeing the same things, or make a game out of counting all the red cars you see driving past. Walking is also great as a family activity, so if you find it hard to get time away from the kids, take them with you and find ways of making it more interesting for them, like a nature trail or a game of I Spy.
All in all, walking is a simple and free way of burning those extra calories without having to push yourself to the absolute limit. It’s a slow but sure way of improving your overall health, and who knows – you might even enjoy it!
Let us know how you got on in the comments below.