Tips for Walking – My Top 9

I am often asked, “What do you do for exercise Sallyanne?” At different times during my life, I have played team sports, participated in various running events and ridden my horse daily. But now, my main activity is walking. In this post, I share my nine top tips for walking, so you too can enjoy the benefits of feeling calmer, fitter and stronger.

Sallyanne standing above Phoksundo Lake Dolpo Trek Nepal

Image: Dennis Pisk

9 Tips for walking

#1 Make it part of your daily routine

The most practical thing about walking is that you can fit it into your daily routine. Even if your routine changes every day.

Walking can be done in the morning, lunchtime or evening, but read the tips for walking in #9 below.

For good health, 30 minutes of brisk walking is recommended.

More than 30 minutes a day will be required to assist with weight loss, but you can gradually increase your activity as your fitness and confidence improve.

Your walking can be completed in 10 minute sessions if you like.

You can also increase incidental activity by:

  • Taking the stairs instead of the lift.
  • Walking up the escalators, rather than standing.
  • Walking to collect a home delivery (rather than having it delivered)!

#2 Do it at your own speed

Did you know that you use about the same amount of energy running or walking a kilometre?

Walking just takes longer!

How fast you walk will depend on your level of fitness and other health conditions (see tips for walking #9 below).

Brisk walking is at a pace when you can still talk, but feel a bit puffed and start to feel warmer.

Did you know that you use about the same amount of energy running or walking a kilometre?

#3 Monitor your progress

Two simple ways to monitor your walking

  1. Walk a set distance and measure how long it takes you to complete it. As your pace increases, you can lengthen the distance. You can also add in stairs and hills.
  2. Measure your steps each day with a pedometer, app on your smartphone or on a fitness device. We are aiming for 10,000 steps a day.

#4 Make walking your form of transport

Walking can be your only transport or part of your transport

  • Walk to the shops, or park your car in one location and do all of your shopping from this one spot.
  • Walk to work or home from work.
  • If you take public transport, get off one stop earlier and walk the rest.
  • Explore a new town or city on foot. It’s the perfect holiday activity.

#5 Make walking pleasurable

  • Vary where you walk.
  • Choose nature – the beach, beside a river, through a garden or forest.
  • Walk at different times of the day – between sunrise and sunset.
  • Explore the changes in your neighbourhood.
  • Walk where you feel safe and happy (read tips for walking #9 below).

#6 Have fun with others

  • Walk with friends
  • Join a walking club

#7 Make a dog happy

  • Dogs need regular exercise, so they are excellent walking companions.
  • I suggest mixing up the “walking” and “sniffing” time so you both get enjoyment from the outing.
  • If you don’t have a dog, a neighbour may appreciate you taking their friend out for a walk.

When walking with a dog,I suggest mixing up the “walking” and “sniffing” time so you both get enjoyment from the outing.

#8 Go on an adventure

Walking is an excellent way to explore remote parts of the world. But it is essential if you are going on bush walks or multi-day walks that you go with at least one friend who is an experienced bushwalker.

Start with half-day walks then build up to full day and multi-day adventures.

Australian national parks, as in many other countries, offer both beach and bush walks. You can read about some of my favourite local bush walks in the Blue Mountains here 

Walking is an activity that nourishes the mind and body

#9 Stay healthy and safe

  1. If you are over 40 years, haven’t been exercising for a while, are carrying excess weight or have a health condition then see your doctor for a medical check-up before you start stepping out.
  2. If walking alone, then walk in daylight and let a family member or friend know where you are walking and when you are expected home.
  3. It is not advisable to walk alone in bushland or remote areas. Ideally, walk in a group of three. If someone is injured it means someone can stay, and someone can go for help.
  4. Choose walks that suit your age and fitness level.
  5. Start your walk slowly to warm up and also allow for a cool-down phase towards the end of your walk.
  6. Wear comfortable loose clothing that is breathable.
  7. Make sure your footwear is comfortable and suitable for the type of walk that you are doing. It is advisable to have your footwear professionally fitted.
  8. Carry waterproof clothing, sun protection, a hat, and insect repellent.
  9. A walking stick or umbrella can be useful in steep or difficult terrain, it can be used for support if you injure your foot, ankle, knee or leg. It can also be used to warn of unfriendly unleashed dogs.
  10. Take plenty of fluids for longer walks.
  11. Wear a comfortable backpack that is suited to the type of walk that you are doing.

My tips for walking encourage you to build a flexible and pleasurable form of activity into your day. Walking can take you to amazing places. You can walk alone or with friends. It’s an activity that nourishes your mind and body.

Please share your favourite walking experience in the comments below.

 

Disclaimer

The content on this website is for information purposes only. The information shared is not meant to replace that provided by your healthcare practitioner. For personalised advice see a qualified healthcare practitioner.

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