We all know we should be active to stay healthy and walking is the easiest way for most of us get that activity in every day. If it’s been a while since you’ve been active or are just thinking about getting started, it can be quite a daunting thought.
How much can I manage? What if it hurts? How much should I do? Where should I go?
We’ve been supporting people to get walking for over 20 years so we’re sharing a few tips and resources to help you take those first steps to a happier, healthier and more active you!
1. Join a local Health Walk group.
The groups are run for people just like you! Everyone is welcome and you can walk for as far and as fast (or slow!) as you like. Everyone there was a new walker once so they know how difficult it can be to join a new group and will be there to support and encourage you. Give the group a call before you go if you’d like to speak to someone and have your questions answered.
2. Walking with health conditions
If you’ve got a long term health condition, walking can be a great way to be active, while at the same time often helping to manage your condition. If you’re not sure how best to get started see your GP or health professional and let you know what to look out for and at what level to begin.
There is some great advice from physiotherapists about getting active with various health conditions here. There is information from the NHS about being active with a disability or long term condition here and many of our Health Walks are Cancer and Dementia Friendly.
3. Record your steps
If you’re not sure about joining a group but still want to walk more, a phone app, pedometer or activity tracker can be a great way to find out how active you currently are and help you monitor your progress, stay motivated and increase activity. There are lots of simple to use, good quality trackers on sale and you should aim to build up the number of steps you do each day gradually. You don’t have to do 10,000 steps to get the benefits of walking more!
4. Any steps are positive steps
Remember, the most important thing is taking those first few steps to a healthier you. That could be just walking to the garden gate and back, to the shops, the bus stop or school. Start small and try to add a little more walking into your routine each day, you’ll soon be walking more and feeling the difference!