Walking for Health - Activfirst
Walking is often overlooked when considering a “go to” exercise, but just by completing this simple activity you can achieve significant health benefits. It is the truest form of exercise, something you don’t need to learn or book an appointment for. It is with you from 12 months old and is a part of everyday life…Not to mention it’s free!
So What are the Benefits?
There are many benefits of regular walking:
- Building stamina / Improving mobility of joints / Strengthening the heart and lungs / Weight loss / Improving mental health / Calorie expenditure
But above all you will feel great! There is nothing more satisfying then being in the great outdoors, seeing the beautiful sights whilst improving your health.
Will you Need Anything?
To get started you won’t need an extensive list of clothing and equipment. Below are a few suggestions:
- Suitable walking shoes/boots that give you comfort particularly if you’ll be covering quite a bit of distance on your walks.
- Your clothing should be layered. As you’ll be out in varying temperatures and different weather conditions, the layers will provide the warmth necessary. And the layers will be easy to manage with the bonus of being lightweight.
- For longer walks you will need to prepare yourself better; you may need water and healthy snacks, hats, gloves and sun cream in a small backpack.
The government initiative states that to improve our health, 150 hours of activity needs to be achieved each week – 20-30 minutes each day would meet this. Surely, we can adopt this into our daily schedule?
A good place to start is by looking at how active we currently are and making it count:
- If you walk to work – walk quicker.
- If you use public transport – get off a stop earlier.
- If you use the lift – use the stairs instead.
- If you have a dog – walk it regularly and walk more vigorously.
Make it Habitual – Find an activity you enjoy and do it regularly. Make it fit into your lifestyle so not to cause a disruption that’ll quickly subside.
Put on Some Music – Listening to music, for many people, is an excellent distraction and motivating tool to see you through the activity. Sing along or dance along your merry way with your favourite tunes belting out in your ears!
Mix it up – Change your walking routes. Create variety of terrain, sights and intensity and reduce the effects of boredom. Canals, bridle paths, rivers, lakes/reservoirs, seaside, cliffs, hillsides and footpaths all provide varying terrain and intensities. Start on flat and progress to hills. Start on footpaths, progress to sand/rough grass.
You’ll find you get excited about visiting new places. You may even get a little competitive with your self and want to beat a time from a previous walk!
Join a Group – If you need that extra encouragement and support, there are thousands of walking groups across the country. So, walking must be good to enable these walking groups to be so sustainable! This also has a huge social benefit too. It may lead to excursions where you get to explore more of this country and beyond. Who knows where you could end up!!
For Charity – You may find it helpful working towards a goal. For example, a charity event. Make it a purposeful cause and raise money for a local/national charity which is close to your heart. So, as well as receiving the health benefits, you also play a part in helping the community.
Here at Activfirst we will be supporting “Walking for Health” by participating in a charity walk on Saturday 23rd June. We will take to the footpaths inspired by the Cleveland Way and walk from Robin Hoods Bay to Scarborough (14 miles). Along the way we will be able to take in the beautiful coastal scenery.
We are walking in aid of MIND, a charity to help young adults with mental health issues.
So don’t delay and put off that walk tomorrow that you can do today……get your walking shoes on!