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Walking that stress off

Stress can be hard to manage and it sometimes feels like it permeates every inch of our lives. It's the modern day buzzword and it's a real problem for many of us. I am always extolling the benefits of running to manage stress, all of the time, but I do appreciate that running isn't always an option for all of us. Firstly, you need a basic level of fitness to run, which not everyone has and secondly, some people just don't like running and that's ok. So, if running isn't your thing, have you thought about walking as an option?

1. Getting Started

Walking can be a great introduction to exercise, even if you've never exercised before in your life. You can start walking just a few minutes a day and gradually build up your distance and stamina. Start on a flat surface and as you become fitter, add in a hill and edge up the distance each time. Before you know it you'll be climbing mountains and walking 5K with ease. The key is to remember to pace yourself and build up your distance and speed. If you have any pre existing health conditions then think about consulting with your Doctor before you embark on any exercise plan.

2. What do I need to walk?

Not much is the answer to that question. The ability to move, however you move, comfortable shoes and weather appropriate clothing is pretty much all you need to get started. As you progress with your walking skills, you may want to invest in a pair of walking boots but a pair of trainers are perfectly good for walking.

3. What are the benefits?

Where to start, there are so many benefits of walking. The first big one is improved mental health. Walking just feels free. There is a network of footpaths throughout the UK which will take you to places you can't go with a car. In the past the Ramblers would have been strictly for pensioners, but the Ramblers have recently rebranded to reflect the larger numbers of younger people walking. Another big benefit of walking is weight loss and muscle tone. Walking can be just as effective as running for losing weight and it can be kinder to your knees as we age. The other benefits are improving general fitness levels, reduced stress and reduced anxiety. Walking does it all.

4. Is there any help out there?

Why not try to find a local walking group to start your walking journey with. There are plenty of walking groups in the UK and it could even be a way to make new friends.

5. Where can I walk?

In the UK there is 225,000 km of public footpaths which should keep even the keenest walkers busy for a while

6. Don't forget

To relax and enjoy yourself x

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