Walking is one of the simplest forms of exercises we do everyday, it is free, and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.
A brisk walk can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier. There is no need to walk for hours, a 10 minute brisk walk daily has a lot of health benefits and counts toward the WHO recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.
Before you start
Any shoes or trainers that are comfortable, provide adequate support and don’t cause blisters will do. If you’re walking to work, you could wear your usual work clothes with a comfy pair of shoes and change shoes when you get into work. Try and walk when the weather is cooler, early mornings and early evenings to avoid heat stroke or being sunburnt. If you are thinking of taking a long walk, you may want to take some water, healthy snacks, a spare top, sunscreen and a sunhat in a small backpack. If you are going to do mountain walks try and invest in some good walking boots or trainers for the challenging routes. Wear long trousers and socks to avoid insect and snake bites to your ankles – and avoid wearing bright colours as these also attract insects!
How do I know if I’m walking fast enough?
- A brisk walk is about 6km/h, which is faster than a stroll.
- One way to tell if you’re walking briskly is if you can still talk but can’t sing the words to a song.
- You could also try using the free Active 10 app on your smartphone/or a good old fashion watch. It tells you when you’re walking fast enough and suggests ways to fit in some more brisk walking.
What if I’m not very active?
If you’re not very active but are able to walk, increase your walking distance gradually.
If your joints are a problem, see a physiotherapist at Sasoros physiotherapy clinic to assess and advise you on how to build strength and form.
If you can’t leave the house, why not see if one of our therapist can visit you at home and do gentle exercises with you to help support your joints.
Make it a habit
The easiest way to walk more is to make walking a habit. Think of ways to include walking in your daily routine.
- walking part of your journey to work
- walk lunch time (meditate, it’s a good stress reliever)
- walking to the shops
- using the stairs instead of the lift
- leaving the car behind for short journeys
- walking the kids to school
- doing a regular walk with a friend
- going for a stroll with family or friends after dinner
Listen to music
Walking while listening to music or a podcast can take your mind off the effort. Music can also get you into a rhythm and help you walk faster.
You’ll be surprised at how fast the time goes when you’re walking to your favourite tunes.
You will never regret it…
Mix it up
Add variety to your walks. You don’t have to travel to the countryside or the mountains to find a rewarding walk.
Towns and cities offer interesting walks
Join a walking group
Walking in a group is a great way to start walking, make new friends and stay motivated. There is an early morning walking group at Daan Viljoen, but you need to be an early riser to join these serious walkers.