Exercise: Walking Programme

“10,000 steps a day”

Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight, relax the mind, feel great physically, and become become healthier. How about making a target of building up to walking 10,000 steps a day? That sounds a lot, but you can walk 1,000 steps in around 10 minutes. So fast walking 10,000 steps only takes 50 minute, and doing this on five or more days a week is not so impossible as it might sound at first.

Here is how to go about succeeding in the 50 mins/day walking target:

1.)    Before Starting
A pair of shoes is all the equipment you need. Any shoes or trainers that are comfortable, provide adequate support and don’t cause blisters will do. Wear loose-fitting clothing that allow you to move freely. Choose thin layers rather than heavy, chunky clothing.

For long walks, it is good idea to take some water, healthy snacks, a spare top, sunscreen and a sunhat in a small backpack. If you are starting to take regular, longer walks, you may want to invest in a waterproof jacket and some walking boots for more challenging routes.

2.)   Starting out
Start slowly and build your walking regime gradually. To get the health benefits from walking, it needs to be of moderate-intensity physical activity. In other words, it needs to be faster than a stroll.

Begin every walk slowly and gradually increase the pace. After a few minutes going slowly and when you are ready, try walking a little faster. Towards the end of the walk, gradually slow down your pace to cool down. Finish off with a few gentle stretches, which will help to improve your flexibility.

3.)    Keeping Going

From walking with a backpack to the High Street to do a bit of shopping, or doing part of your journey to work on foot, to walking with friends or organised group walks, every step counts. Try to gt to the stage that you walk 10,000 steps every day. Most people walk between 3,000 and 4,000 steps a day anyway, so reaching 10,000 isn’t as daunting as it might sound with a bit of planning and rearranging your daily routine.

Pedometers are a fun way to keep track of your walking, and will help you keep motivated to achieve the “10,000 Steps a day”. You can use a pedometer to work out your average daily steps and then gradually start adding those extra steps.

Adding variety to your walks is also a good idea. You do not 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. Don’t be put off because you are feeling unfit! It is helpful to know that many of these organized walks are aimed at people who do little or no exercise, but who would like to become more active.

Did you know: Many life insurers give generous discounts to individuals that maintain a healthy exercise programme  such as daily walking!

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