I know what you’re thinking, ‘walking, seriously? as a fitness feature!’ but actually it’s pretty underrated form of exercise.
Walking is ideal for anyone, at any level of fitness, and is a great starting point on being more active. What’s more, walking can actually contribute to your recommended exercise quota. Studies have also shown that regular walking can contribute to weight loss, improve mental health, reduce chronic illnesses, improved heart function and a number of other health benefits.
The method of walking for fitness
As highlighted above, walking can contribute to your recommended aerobic weekly activity; for this, you should be aiming to complete 150 minutes of exercise per week.
To get the maximum health benefits you need from walking, it needs to be a brisk walk. You need to get your heart rate up, breathing more, and ideally you’ll be a bit sweaty at the end of it. Walking up hills will also improve your cardiovascular health significantly too.
The beauty of walking as a form of exercise is you can incorporate it into any aspect of your life as well:
- Walk to work.
- Take a walk on your lunch break.
- Instead of driving to the shops, walk instead.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalators.
- Make it a weekend activity before or after dinner.
How to get motivated
It can help to incorporate some gamification when it comes to exercise. Set yourself steps and distance targets you can follow and beat. This will be particularly helpful if you’re rehabilitating or have generally poor fitness and are looking to improve. Start small and build it up day by day, before you know it, you’ll be fighting fit.
We recommend the following to keep you engaged:
- Make use of the health app on the iPhone; look to the health data tab and sign up to the walking/running, flights climbed and steps elements to be visible on the dashboard and review your progress daily. It’s worth looking to the other functions and keeping tabs/updating these too.
- If you don’t have an iPhone, download this Pedometer app.
- Take a look at Walking for Health: you can join a group, find out more about the health benefits of walking, how to be motivated and ways in which you can volunteer your time to helping others.
- There’s nothing better than going on a scenic walk, take a look at the National Trust site to find somewhere spectacular you can wander. A change of scenery can help you to stay motivated, engaged and gives you more purpose.
Do you like to head off on regular walks? You may like some of our guides below!