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Walk This May

Posted on 1st May 2020 by

May is National Walking Month. A month to promote and celebrate the joys, benefits and health effects of walking! Who’d have ever thought we needed to raise awareness of such a simple activity?! Yet, with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and the impact of this on our nation’s health, the simple task of walking needs some extra support! This year, Walk This May, may have extra importance. For some, it’s one of the only activity they may get to do that provides a break from isolation and some time out and about. For others, the physical activity of walking is crucial for physical and mental health.

So, what’s the big deal with walking?

Not only is walking as a mode of transport great for our environment, walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 20-30 minutes walking a day can improve your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment or training.

Did you know, physical activity does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods in order to improve your health. A 2007 study of inactive women found that even a low level of exercise – around 75 minutes per week – improved fitness levels significantly, when compared to a non-exercising group.

What are the health benefits of walking?

Walking is a weight bearing exercise, as you are carrying your own body weight when you walk. There are lot’s of health benefits associated with walking more. Some of the benefits of walking include:

  • increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness
  • reduced risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases
  • helps manage and improve conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol
  • helps with joint and muscular pain or stiffness and long standing conditions such as osteoarthritis or osteoporosis
  • stronger bones and improved balance
  • increased muscle strength and endurance
  • reduced body fat
  • improved psychological and mental health
  • stress relief

How much walking?

As a recommended guideline, to get the health benefits, you should try to walk for at least 20 – 30 minutes as briskly as you can on most days of the week. ‘Brisk’ means that you can still talk but not sing, and you may be puffing slightly.

The 30 minutes doesn’t have to be done all at one time, it can be broken up into smaller chunks, like 3 x 10 minute walks if this fits better with your lifestyle or you can’t manage 30 minutes in 1 go. Although, this may not be advisable in the current climate with our 1 activity a day restriction.

Building walking into your daily life is the most effective way to maintain activity levels. Take a look at the ‘Try 20’ Challenge below. There’s lot’s of ways and simple ideas for you to get 20 minutes of walking into your day.

Make walking part of your daily life

If you can build waling into your daily life, you are more likely to maintain it longer term. Some suggestions to build walking into your daily routine include:

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift (for at least part of the way).
  • Get off public transport one stop earlier and walk to work or home.
  • Walk (don’t drive) to the local shops.
  • Make walking part of your routine, maybe the same time every day scheduled into your diary.

Progress and challenge yourself

Over time, our bodies will tend to get used to physical activity. So if you’re starting to walk more and more, try to increase the intensity of your walking as your fitness levels improve. You can increase the intensity of your walks by:

  • walking up hills
  • walking with hand weights
  • increasing your walking speed gradually by including some quick walking
  • increasing the distance you walk quickly before returning to a moderate walking pace
  • walking for longer

Keep it interesting!

Like anything, if you enjoy doing it, you’ll be more likely to stick to it and make it part of your life. The same applies to walking. There are lot’s of ideas to keep your daily walk more interesting:

  • Pick different routes so you don’t get tired of seeing the same sights, explore places you’ve never ventured to before in your local area.
  • Walk at different times of the day. Fresh morning walks will be a very different experience to a dusk walk.
  • Put on a podcast or playlist to listen to whilst you walk.

Here’s some advice on walking within social distancing guidance.

Here’s a few ideas from Living Streets too.

And when our lockdown restrictions are lifted, here’s some more ideas…..

  • Drive to different places to walk, park the car and enjoy the views and scenery while you walk.
  • Find one or more friends or family members to walk with, walk instead of (or at least on the way to or before!) having a coffee.
  • Explore what’s going on around you, notice the sky, the people, the sounds. Be mindful.
  • Think about local walking groups that might offer additional support. Here’s some ideas.
  • Walk the dog (or your neighbour’s dog or look at sites like ‘Borrow My Doggy‘). Getting a dog can be a great way of encouraging you to exercise regularly if you can take on the commitment.
  • Meet friends for a social walk instead of going for a coffee.

#WalkThisMay #Try20


National Parks Week

Posted on 25th July 2018 by

This week is National Parks Week – an annual National Park family festival championing all that is unique and special about National Parks. This year’s festival takes National Parks Week place Sunday 22 to Sunday 29 July and celebrates the countless opportunities to get outside and discover the length and breadth of the UK’s 15 National Parks.

How lucky are we to have one of these treasures right on our doorstep with The New Forest!

And what great timing, being the summer holidays and having such glorious summer weather!

Getting out in the great outdoors is so good for us in so many ways! 

  • Time to disconnect from technology and connect with nature. The kids may moan and groan about being dragged away from ‘Fortnite’ initially, but it’s often worth the extra effort and persuasion! Get back to basics – climb a tree, find sticks, feel that sunshine on your face!
  • Walking, climbing, exploring – all fantastic ways to get some physical activity into the day. Getting out in the fresh air will help you feel more energised, wake up those muscles & joints and get your heart and lungs pumping if you get your stride on!
  • Bringing families together – time to chat and a low cost holiday activity, why not organise a family walk & picnic (find a nice shady spot!). A spot of rounders or cricket always goes down well too.

Don’t forget, in this unprecedented stretch of hot weather we’ve been having to follow the recommended advice about staying safe in this heat.

  • Drink plenty of water as sugary, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks can make you more dehydrated
  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • Take care and follow local safety advice, if you are going into the water to cool down
  • Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes
  • Make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling

Read More

Taking time to be mindful

Active 10 – 10 Steps to An Active You

#NationalParksWeek #DiscoverNationalParks #LoveActivity


 

 

 


Walking Resources

Posted on 1st May 2018 by

May is National Walking Month, encouraging people to find their feet and pound the pavements or countryside more!

There are lot’s of initiatives, tools and groups set up to help encourage and promote more walking. Walking combined with socialising, whether it be with family of new found friends, will boost your enjoyment and also your likelihood of continuing.

Here are some great walking resources

Walk Unlimited is a fab resource that delivers walking advice and projects. Their aim is to reduce barriers to walking and to ensure that the public have free access to high quality information.

Walks With Buggies has some routes and free information for those wanting to find buggy friendly walks.

National Parks has a huge range of walks, easily categorised by walker or interest. They also do guided walks.

Health Walks are run by Eastleigh Borough Council. The walks take about 1 hour and and are a great way to socialise and get some exercise. They take place frequently throughout the week, covering different areas. They also offer a gentler walk too.

Eastleigh Ramblers are another fantastic resource, take a look at their regular walks.

Nordic Walking is another alternative way of getting out and about and exercising through walking.

Read More 

The ‘Magic’ 10,000 Steps A Day

10 Steps To An Active You

#NationalWalkingMonth #WalkThisMay


The ‘Magic’ 10,000 Steps A Day

Posted on 2nd May 2017 by

May is National Walking Month – a month to inspire you to get out on your feet every day

10,000 – the magic number of recommended steps we need to do every day! But why and where has this come from?

Originally, the magic ‘10,000 steps a day concept’ was created in Japan back in the 1960s. A team of Japanese researchers worked out that the average person took 3,000 – 5,000 steps per day. However, if they were to increase their steps to 10,000 steps per day, the potential result would be healthier, thinner people!

This number wasn’t based on medical research, however, since then much research has been carried out and this seems to be the figure the NHS, WHO and other organisations have promoted to be the number of steps we should try and take every day to help improve our health and reduce the risk of many diseases. It’s an arbitrary figure, but people see to remember it and it encourages and nudges people towards being more active, so that’s not a bad thing! 

10,000 steps equates to approximately 5 miles

10,000 steps roughly equates to 30 minutes of ‘activity’

In the UK, the NHS has published guidelines for the minimum activity levels we should aim for every day to maintain & improve our health. This includes 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity 5 days a week – brisk walking can be an integral part of this.

What can 10,000 steps help with?

  • Improving overall health
  • Decreasing risk of heart disease
  • Reducing body fat % and helping weight loss
  • Decreasing risk of type II diabetes
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Reducing stress

What’s good about 10,000 is that 10,000 steps a day is a realistic goal that is achievable by people of all shapes, sizes and ages. It isn’t really a magic number but a good guideline that matches activity expectations to meet recommended activity levels.

You’d be surprised how much you probably overestimate how many steps a day you actually do. Most people living a ‘normally’ active day will only do between 3,000 – 5,000 steps! So, reaching 10,000 does require some lifestyle changes and it will take some extra effort.

Read More 

The ‘Active 10’ Campaign

Exercise and stress

#NationalWalkingMonth


Active 10 – 10 Steps To An Active You

Posted on 6th April 2017 by

It’s well known that our nation is struggling to reach the Government targets for physical activity and that this is having pretty severe consequences on 10 Steps to an active you our health and wellbeing.

I think a big part of the problem with the guidelines is that people think doing the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day is unachievable. That they have to be sweating it in the gym or running marathons and subsequently don’t do anything!

So, it’s great to see Public Health England’s new initiative 10 Steps To An Active You. You may have seen the posters or leaflets cropping up near you!

The message is simple, you don’t have to do an intense workout to get the benefits of exercise, walking briskly counts too. They’ve even launched a free app that takes away the guesswork. It shows how much brisk walking you’re doing and how you can do more. It’s easy to use and helps you set your goals for the day.

Why is walking briskly good for my health?

There is evidence to show that a brisk 10 minute walk each day brings the following health benefits:

  • Increased physical fitness
  • Greater ease in performing everyday physical activities
  • Improved mood
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased physical leanness and healthier weight

A regular 10 minute brisk walk can make you feel better in so many ways. It can boost your energy, clear your head and lift your mood, as well as lowering your risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Why brisk walking? Wouldn’t something more intense be better?

Research shows that rather than the number of steps taken or distance walked, it’s the combination of the intensity of the exercise and how long you’re doing it for that leads to the health benefits. That’s why we’re focusing on encouraging people to go for at least one brisk 10 minute walk a day.

More intense exercise can benefit those who are able to make the commitment to this, while brisk walking is for people who find it difficult to find the time to fit exercise into their day.

You can read more about Active 10 and download the free app here.

 


Drive Less, Live More

Posted on 23rd November 2015 by

drive less live more

It’s Road Safety Week this week and this years message is

‘Drive less and live more’

Need to go the shop for a few bits for the tea? Do you really need the car or would it be as quick to walk? You’ll probably spend most of your journey looking for a parking space when you do eventually reach your destination.

Leaving the car at home for a day will only help improve the environment by reducing on toxins released from motor vehicles.

By taking the train or the bus to work, we can all make our roads safer. It would mean less traffic, speeding up the daily commute which I think we would all agree is a major benefit.

Walking and cycling also gives the extra benefit of stretching our legs and getting some regular exercise. Even a short walk from the bus-stop to our place of work is sufficient to raise the heart rate and improve circulation. This way we can build exercise into our daily routine without feeling the need to find more time in our already busy days to undertake formal exercise, like going to the gym.

So let’s try leaving the car at home for short journeys and walking or cycling instead. You might even feel better for it!


Road Safety Week

Posted on 18th November 2015 by

The message this year is to drive less and live more.

Need to go the shop for a few bits for the tea. Do you really need the car or would it be as quick to walk? You’ll probably spend most of your journey looking for a parking space when you do eventually reach your destination.

Leaving the car at home for a day will only help improve the environment by reducing on toxins released from motor vehicles.

By taking the train or the bus to work, we can all make our roads safer. It would mean less traffic, speeding up the daily commute which I think we would all agree is a major benefit.

Walking and cycling also gives the extra benefit of stretching our legs and getting some regular exercise. Even a short walk from the bus-stop to our place of work is sufficient to raise the heart rate and improve circulation. This way we can build exercise into our daily routine without feeling the need to find more time in our already busy days to undertake formal exercise, like going to the gym.

So let’s try leaving the car at home for short journeys and walking or cycling instead. You might even feel better for it!