Haven’t got enough time, money or energy to keep fit? Forget fancy trainers and expensive and unavailable gym memberships. Just open your front door and get walking. Let’s face it, walking is all we can do during this phase of lockdown, so instead of sitting watching an episode of ‘Weather Man Walking”, get out there and practice what Derek Brockway preaches.
And let’s be honest, we are blessed here in South Wales to some of the most beautiful countryside and beaches to walk and enjoy. If that’s not good for you, a wander around town or your local streets is just as good, and who knows what you’ll discover about where you live along the way.
We’ve come up with some great reason why walking is an easy fitness hack and how to get the most out of it.
You don’t need a lot of money, expensive gym membership or fancy equipment to start getting fit and losing weight. In fact, you don’t even need that much time to spare— just open your front door and start walking. If you would like to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine but think you don’t have enough time, money, or are simply too tired, walking is the ideal solution. There are many benefits to this often-overlooked activity. It costs nothing, you can do it anywhere, and you can go at your own pace. The best part is you can start doing it right away regardless of your age or fitness level. So, what are you waiting for?
Initially, you may find having a set schedule very helpful while you establish your walking routine. For the first three weeks, set aside a definite time each day for your walking programme. Write the schedule in your diary or daily planner and don’t let anything come between you and your daily walk. In the first few days, it is recommended that you begin slowly. Start with a daily 10-minute walk at a moderate pace before increasing to a 20-minute walk. By the end of your first week of walking, you should be able to do 20 -minute walks comfortably. During your second week, increase your distance and your pace. At the end of 14 days, you should be walking for 30 minutes and you’ll be surprised at how much ground you can cover.
REDUCE HEALTH RISKS
When you enter your third week, you may consider introducing a few hills or stairs into your daily walk. At the end of this time, you’ll have established your walking pattern and should be feeling much more energetic. You should also start noticing some weight loss, especially if you’ve modified your eating habits as well. You can now continue your fitness programme by walking at a smart pace for about 45 minutes at least three times a week, and before too long, you’ll begin to notice the benefits to your health and weight. There are quite a few benefits to beginning a walking programme.
For starters, it helps you reduce your weight and your risk of coronary heart disease. Then, it also helps to increase your bone density, protect your joints, and reduce stress. On top of this, it keeps you active, increases mental alertness, boosts your energy levels, and improves your overall well-being. Walking could be just what you need to comfortably shed those extra pounds and up your fitness levels. However, it is important that you consult your GP before beginning this or any other exercise programme, especially if you are overweight and haven’t exercised on a regular basis for some time.
TIPS TO GET WALKING
- When you drive to the supermarket, don’t try to find the nearest parking space. Park as far away as you can and walk into the store.
- Don’t email your co-worker down the hall – walk over and talk to them in person.
- Start a new habit of taking a walk, no matter how small, every day.
- Always take the stairs rather than a lift.
- Walk with a family member or a friend to encourage and support each other.
The National Trust have some fantastic ideas for short walks around South Wales. They are only up to three miles long but are packed with things to see and do. You may see seals at Martin’s Haven, wetland wildfowl at Marloes mere or ancient White Park cattle at Dinefwr. Be impressed by the geology of Garn Fawr and the rugged coastline of Pembrokeshire and take a few steps back in time at the gold mines at Dolaucothi.
For details on the Trust’s short walks, go HERE.