It’s the British Heart Foundation’s ‘National Walking Month’ this month, a great initiative to get us off the sofa, and out and about. We all know walking is good for us physically (and for the wallet and environment!), but here are a few other facts and tips about sticking one foot in front of the other that you might find useful. So go on, phone down, car keys down, trainers on, and WALK!  

  • A brisk 20 minute walk can burn up to 110 calories; that’s pretty good going! And in fact Walkit.com says burning 500-1000 calories per week (that’s about 6-12 miles walking for an average weight person) can reduce the risk of premature death by a whopping 20-30%. It can also improve musculoskeletal health, reducing the likelihood of osteoarthritis or lower back pain.
  • You don’t have to pack in your minutes in one solid block - it all matters. I always tell clients to boost step count by parking in the furthest car park spot (if you really can’t leave the car at home), always walking up the escalator in the shops or the stairs at work, or walking to the furthest loo in the office or at home. Simple but effective.
  • There is a wealth of evidence that physical activity like walking can reduce stress and anxiety, and apparently can even be as effective as medication in boosting your mood. When most of us experience at least some stress daily, it’s good to know there are simple solutions at hand.
  • It’s great exercise if you’re pre or postnatal. I’ve been doing loads of walks as part of my overall pregnancy fitness regime, from thinking when I can leave the car at home to run errands, to longer weekend walks to boost my aerobic fitness and endurance. If you’ve had your baby, it’s one of the BEST ways to ease yourself safely back into exercise in those first few weeks when your body is beginning recovery, as well as getting you out of the house to boost your mood! The resistance provided by the pram plus the aerobic exercise is a winning combo, and add gentle hills to your route to gradually increase difficulty.
  • You can treat a walk like you might a workout, with periods of greater work and rest. Create ‘intervals’ in your commute by increasing pace to the next lamppost or picking a hillier route to the station.