Walking For Fitness

Walking is an excellent way to get in shape and lose weight. Almost anyone can do it, no matter what their current fitness level, and all you need to get started is a comfortable pair of shoes.

If you have been sedentary for a while, or have any condition which could be affected by exercise, such as high blood pressure, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Warm-up by starting at a slow pace and gradually building up your speed.

At the end of your workout, slow down over the last five minutes or so.

Your Route

Safe routes in busy areas are best – that way if you feel ill, or too tired to continue, it’s easy to get home.

Public parks, shopping areas and zoos are all great for beginners. As you become fitter and more confident, nature trails and larger parks offer great scenery and a wider variety of routes.

Clothing

Clothes need to be comfortable and practical – and of course appropriate for the British weather!

Wearing layers will enable you to adjust your temperature as you warm up and cool down during the course of your walk.

Walking Shoes Go for comfort when choosing your walking shoes. Training shoes are good for general walking on firm ground. For more demanding terrain, a hiking boot with more support is recommended.

When choosing shoes, wear the same socks that you’ll use for your daily walks. It’s recommended that your try on shoes later in the day when your feet are warm – feet expand during the day, so a pair of shoes that fits in the morning might be tight later in the day.

Items to carry with you
 

  • water, if you’re out on a longer walk
  • If walking in the woods, a whistle can come in handy – if you get lost, give 6 loud blasts
  • If you are walking for more than an hour, take a healthy snack such as a piece of fruit
  • For walking on rough ground, a walking stick can be useful
  • Sun cream and sun glasses if the weather is nice

Staying Motivated

There are lots of ways to help you stay motivated:

  • Choose different routes – there’s nothing worse than the same route every day
  • Walk with a partner, or join a walking group in your area – it’s much more fun if you have someone else with you
  • Monitor your increase in fitness, weight loss etc – making progress is a great motivator
  • Enjoy your walks – they are a great time to think about your life, feel positive about yourself, and work through any issues

The following chart will give you guideline for calorie breakdown for those of you who are walking for weight management:

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