Walking for health and fitness can be easily combined with going to work, school, shopping or walking the dog.
Walking regularly will make you healthier in a number of ways, including improving the health of your heart, and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
You can find out more about the health benefits of walking on the NHS Choices website
A great way for you to get started on the path to better health is to get involved in local health walks. These are aimed particularly at people who take little exercise or live in areas of poor health.
Organised walks can have a positive impact on your health, boost your social life and give you a break from the stresses and pressures of everyday life.
Walks are organised by a variety of organisations. You can find information about health walks in Somerset, and throughout South West England on the Walking for Health website.
Nordic Walking is adapted from off-season cross-country ski training, in which skiers kept in shape over the summer by using their poles without snow.
Nordic walkers use hand-held poles to propel themselves forwards while walking. This means the upper body muscles are used as well as the legs and you can move faster than ordinary walking. Your body works harder, but the support given by the poles makes it feel easier and takes pressure off the knees and leg joints.
Nordic Walking is becoming ever more popular as a form of exercise. It is good for cardiovascular fitness, tones both the upper and lower body and burns up more calories than regular walking. It can be done by anybody, but does require a specific technique that must be learnt properly in order to get the most out of the activity.
For more information about Nordic Walking and how you can get in touch with an instructor near you, go to the Nordic Walking website.
Starting a walking programme
If you’re looking to start walking regularly to improve your health and fitness, then following a walking plan is a good way to start. It allows you to build up the length and intensity of your walks gradually, and is achievable for people of all ages and levels of fitness. You can find walking plans and advice on how to get started on the Walking for Health and Ramblers websites.
Zing Somerset is a motivational tool to help you start and sustain physical activity. You simply sign in, pick your activity and log how many minutes you've done. There are also monthly challenges to try, or you can find new activities and places to do physical activity around Somerset.