Did you start off the year with new goals and objectives for the months ahead? Perhaps one of them was to get fit and healthy or maybe to try and lose some excess weight. One of the simplest and best ways we can do any of this is to go walking.
It’s one form of exercise that is both free and easy to do. There’s no training involved, no expensive equipment necessary, it can be a great social activity if you want it to be … and you can do it anywhere.
Being physically active is probably the single most important thing that we can do for maintaining or improving our physical and mental health and well-being.
We all know walking is good for us, but it’s actually far more important and beneficial than most people realise. Physical activity which includes an active lifestyle and routine exercise, like walking, plus eating sensibly is the best way to stay healthy.
With this in mind, we have developed a guideline of activity for you and your family …
Children and Young People (2-18)
All children and young people should be active, at a moderate to vigorous level, for at least 60 minutes every day. Include muscle-strengthening, flexibility and bone-strengthening exercises 3 times a week.
At least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity on 5 days a week (or 150 minutes a week). You can count shorter bouts of activity towards the guidelines. These bouts should last for at least 10 minutes.
Older People (65+)
At least 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity activity on 5 days a week, or 150 minutes a week. Focus on aerobic activity, muscle-strengthening and balance.
Walking really is one of the best forms of exercise, as it can be tailored to most fitness levels and health needs … and it’s absolutely FREE! No gym membership, no sign up fees – all you need is comfortable footwear, appropriate clothing for the weather and you are good to go.
Here are 5 tips to help you get started and stay on track ...
1. Go for a stroll after dinner each day instead of watching television. Make this a habit like brushing your teeth or taking your vitamins.
2. Give yourself an aim like walk to the shop to get milk or post a letter to a friend – it helps to have a reason to get to your destination.
3. Change your route and explore different paths every day – that way it won’t seem so monotonous and you will gain more appreciation of the surroundings on your doorstep.
4. Leave the car at home and walk to public transport to get to work or the shops – this is not only good for your health but you will also save money too!
5. Keep track of your progress by using a calendar or a fitness tracker – you will soon see improvements in your timing and want to increase your steps.
For more information on how to get started on your new fitness plan, call in to your local Haven Pharmacy for more advice.