Walking is a great way to get in shape and aid weight loss. There is no need for a gym, trainer or fancy equipment. No matter what your fitness level is, you can get out there and get moving. Look around you, there will be many places on your doorstep that will provide some great walks, try the park, local nature reserve, coastal areas, stately homes or castle grounds or just around the area where you live. And this is an exercise you can enjoy all year round, although most people would prefer the dryer months, but with the right gear, there’ll be no stopping you.
Walking doesn’t have to be an isolating experience; you could join a walking club or start your own group with a circle of friends. Take precautions to make your walk safe (see below) and you should enjoy a trouble-free walk.
Walking should go hand-in-hand with a healthy eating lifestyle; overeating or a poor diet will undo all of your hard work. If weight loss is your goal you need to maintain a sensible diet consisting of a good balance of fresh low calorie foods. Weight loss is only achieved by consuming fewer calories than you expend.
According to the NHS walking can lower the risk of heart disease, asthma, strokes and some cancers and chronic diseases. Other health benefits include weight loss and it improves glycaemic control, walking also reduces stress and boosts your immunity.
To really enjoy your walk, if you don't already have this, invest in a good pair of walking shoes or runners and wear the appropriate outer wear for the weather, rain macs and sportswear have become increasing more affordable, particularly with the rise of sports factory shops and outlet stores. When investing in new trainers or walking shoes, it is worth having your feet measured and get advice from the staff in store. Good footwear will help keep your feet healthy and blister-free. Remember to stay hydrated on your walk, carry a bottle of water and a healthy snack if you are walking for a considerable distance.
Start off slow and pace yourself, don’t plan to speed walk 10 miles on day one; set yourself a reasonable goal particularly if you have been inactive for a while. A one-to-four mile moderately paced walk might be more than enough to start with. And remember it’s always a good idea to visit your doctor to get a ‘clean bill of health’ before commencing physical activity, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or take regular medication.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to fit walking into your lifestyle – walk to work or get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way; take a walk during your lunch break; walk to the shops and leave the car at home; or organise some long walks with family or friends at the end of the day. It doesn't have to be a long walk, take 30 minutes out of your busy schedule and discover how enjoyable a good walk can be.
Do you need some tips to help you stay safe on your walks read this post?