How to get the best out of your spring walk

How to get the best out of your spring walk

May is National Walking Month – the perfect time to lace up those walking shoes and stride out. And here Patsy explains how a relaxing trip out can do wonders.

Walking is a great way to get the 30-60 minutes a day of moderate physical activity recommended for health.

It’s also a cinch to fit into everyday life: with no fitness club membership commitment, no booking workout slots or buying lots of kit (although you will want to invest in a pair of suitable walking shoes).

It’s a fantastic way to carve out some relaxing time from a busy day to think your own thoughts. Plus it’s a perfect thing to share with friends or your other half.

The benefits

Get out for a walk can have benefits for your body and your mind.

  • A regular brisk walk improves the health of heart and lungs, reduces blood pressure and can lower your risk of heart disease after menopause by between 12% and 40%.
  • It can also strengthen bones, keep joints supple, ease back pain, and maintain muscle – all vital at our time of life.
  • Consistent exercise (like walking) could help prevent breast cancer. According to a large French study of almost 60,000 post-menopausal women those who exercised consistently for the equivalent of four hours a week were 10% less likely to develop the disease.
  • Walking can also help ward off post-menopausal depression, anxiety and stress and help you sleep better, according to a recent study.

Best foot forward

Do you need that little push out of the door? Check these easy tips.
  • For optimum benefit walk briskly enough to feel your heart rate increase and get sweaty and a bit breathless – although you should still be able to hold a conversation.
  • If you’re an exercise newbie or haven’t exercised for a while start by walking on the flat and after a week or so add in some hills to make it more aerobic.
  • To increase motivation use an activity tracker such as a Fitbit ( and work up to 10,000 steps (around five miles) a day.
  • To ramp up the benefits try power walking or speed walking – closer to the upper end of the natural speed range for walking – usually 4.5 to 5.5 mph, similar to jogging. Use a pedometer to check.
  • To exercise your upper as well as your lower body try Nordic walking (, where you use hand-held poles to propel you forward.
  • Always warm up and cool down by walking gently for five minutes before and after your walk proper.

How much, how often?

If you know exactly what will offer the best benefit, it’ll give you something to aim for.
  • For overall fitness aim for a minimum 30 minutes most days.
  • For weight loss shoot for 40 minutes, six days a week.
  • If you’ve lost weight and want to keep it off aim for 90 minutes most days.
  • Too much like hard work? Break into more manageable 20-minute chunks.
  • During May, Living Streets will show you 20 fun and easy ways to squeeze 20 minutes’ extra walking into your day.

Shoe it

    A good pair of walking shoes will set you on the right track. Look for a lightweight, breathable shoe with a low, supportive heel and roomy toe box – leave around ½ inch between your toes and the end of the shoe.

    For information about shoes, clothing and more advice, visit

Go the extra mile

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Ramblers and my Fitbit

Sappho 29/09/2016

I have just decided to join the local Ramblers because my friends are members and they seem to have such a great time and keep fit at the same time. I would love to win a FITBIT so that I can monitor my fitness while walking country paths with my friends. Can't seem to find the FITBITS competition that was advertised so putting my dream wish here just incase you see it. I would love one and will happily review it too! Here's hoping you do see this! #fitbitfanwithoutafitbityet!

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