Walking is simple, free, and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier.
You don’t have to walk for hours. A brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.
Try going for a nice walk with your dog or asking a family member to join you so you don’t get bored.
Before you start
Any shoes or trainers that are comfortable, provide adequate support and don’t cause blisters will do.
If you’re walking to work, you could wear your usual work clothes with a comfy pair of shoes and change shoes when you get into work.
You may want to take some water and a healthy snack. On sunny days, remember sunscreen and a sunhat.
How do I know if I’m walking fast enough?
A brisk walk is about three miles an hour, which is faster than a stroll. One way to tell if you’re walking briskly is if you can still talk but can’t sing the words to a song.
What if I’m not very active?
If you’re not very active but are able to walk, increase your walking distance gradually.
If your joints are a problem, check whether your local swimming pool holds exercise classes.
The water helps to support your joints while you move, and once you lose a bit of weight, the pressure on your joints will reduce.
If you’re not active because of a medical condition, get advice from your doctor on exercising with a disability.
If you can’t leave the house, why not see if one of our Member’s Area exercise videos can help?
Make it a habit. The easiest way to walk more is to make walking a habit. Think of ways to include walking in your daily routine. Examples include:
- walking part of your journey to work
- walking to the shops
- using the stairs instead of the lift
- leaving the car behind for short journeys
- walking the kids to school
- doing a regular walk with a friend
- going for a stroll with family or friends after dinner
- Listen to music.
- Walking while listening to music or a podcast can take your mind off the effort. Music can also get you into a rhythm and help you walk faster. You’ll be surprised at how fast the time goes when you’re walking to your favourite tunes.
Mix it up
Add variety to your walks. You don’t have to travel to the countryside to find a rewarding walk. Towns and cities offer interesting walks, including parks, heritage trails, canal towpaths, riverside paths, commons, woodlands, heaths and nature reserves.