Walking offers an easy way to get fit, lose weight and build up your strength, and the best part is that it can be easily fitted into your everyday routine, whatever your lifestyle. This article looks at the benefits of walking and offers some simple tips for incorporating more steps into your daily life.
Many people enjoy walking to get fit and also walk to lose weight, as part of a healthier eating regime and lifestyle. However, walking has a whole range of important health benefits, such as reducing your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. It can also improve your strength, lower blood pressure and even help alleviate lower back pain. From a mental health perspective, walking can lift your mood and give you an energy boost. So, there are plenty of great reasons to get out and walk!
The consensus has long been that 10,000 steps a day is the target we should all be aiming for. This equates to roughly five miles. This may seem a lot, but it quickly adds up. Using a pedometer or fitness tracker can help you see just how many steps a day you take simply walking around the supermarket or taking the dog out. If you need some extra motivation, walking 10,000 steps can burn in the region of 500 calories!
It’s easy to get obsessed with the number of steps you walk. However, rather than concentrating on how many steps a day, think about the way in which you walk. To get the full benefit, you want to aim for a brisk pace that elevates the heart rate.
If you'd like to walk more, but are unsure how to make the necessary changes to your routine, take a look at these simple ideas that can help you get more steps in each day.
Start by examining what you do every day and ask yourself: how can I fit in extra steps? You’ll no doubt find lots of opportunities to incorporate more walking. For example:
- Do you drive to the local shop, or get off the bus at the stop closest to your destination?
- Do you always take the lift instead of the stairs, or stand on the escalator?
- Do you always park in the space nearest to the supermarket or your office building?
There is what you might call ‘functional’ walking, which simply gets you from A to B. Then there is pleasurable walking. In the UK, we are blessed with lots of great outdoor space, from countryside and coast to parks and woodland. Find some local open air walks in your area and make a commitment to ‘get back to nature’ on a regular basis, even if it’s just to your local park.
Need more help? The NHS has started an Active 10 initiative to encourage people to walk regularly for just 10 minutes. If you want to start walking to get fit, this might give you a sensible and achievable target.
There are times when going out walking just doesn’t fit into the day. If you find you’re too busy to go walking, or can’t face braving the inclement weather, why not try an indoor walking-based workout?
This doesn’t mean investing in an expensive treadmill. Due to the popularity of walking to get fit, there are lots of fitness programmes based on walking which are suitable for all fitness levels. These routines incorporate different movements and engage lots of muscle groups, often adding extra elements such as resistance bands and hand-weights. You can buy DVDs, subscribe to an online fitness programme, or search YouTube for free walking workouts.
If you’re looking for inspiration, many of our luxury spas are located in some beautiful places, so you can enjoy some great walking alongside some great pampering. Call our spa experts today and ask about our latest spa deals.