Walking. It's low impact, requires little equipment, can be done at any time of day or in any weather (though sleet, rain, or snow aren't as pleasurable), can be done at your own leisure, and it's FREE!
May is 'National Walking Month,' with the goal of promoting walking as a way to improve people's mental and physical health, as well as to keep connected with your community, making us feel less lonely and alone.
We'll look at the benefits of walking for our physical and mental health, how often you should walk, and various apps and groups to help keep you motivated to make walking a daily part of your routine, improving your overall health and wellness.
Everyone can benefit from walking, but those who are overweight, elderly, or haven't exercised in a long time can do so without the worry about the risks associated with more vigorous forms of exercise. Daily walking helps strengthen bones, lower excess body fat, improve cardiovascular fitness, and build muscle strength and endurance.
You can greatly enhance or maintain your general health by walking for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Even short walks taken more frequently can be useful if you can't achieve 30 minutes each day. Walking with others can turn exercise into an enjoyable social occasion.
The NHS recommends that adults aged from 19 – 64 years should aim for 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of weekly exercise. Find out more here.
You're going to carry your phone with you when you go walking, so make it work for you by downloading apps that allow you to find new hikes or routes in your region without worrying about getting lost. You can also keep track of how many steps you've taken, how many calories you've burned, and other useful health data.
You can explore and experiment with the apps listed below, but keep in mind that this is not a complete list, so ask your friends and family what they use and find useful.
There are loads of walking groups you can join to get you motivated, meet new people and also find new walks with company. You can visit Time Outdoors and Country File have a great article on all the different walking groups available in the UK.
So, embrace the great outdoors and walk your way to better health.