A beginner's guide to walking
Free and available from outside your front door, walking is the ultimate outdoor activity all year round.
Walking is good for you! Do you fit in your 150 minutes of exercise per week? If not, don’t worry, there are so many ways you can do it.
The NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week(1). One of the simplest ways to achieve this through walking. 30 minutes of walking per day, 5 times each week would hit the 150-minute target.
It doesn’t even need to be all in one go either, you could split your walking into 10 or 15 minute chunks – such as a 15-minute walk at lunchtime and a 15-minute walk after work. Or, if you have more time at the weekend you could do longer walks then.
Regardless of how you do it, walking is a great form of exercise and requires minimal equipment – a pair of comfortable shoes will suffice.
Regardless of your level of expertise when it comes to walking – the free greenspaces layer on OS maps can help you walk more, and discover new places.
You could use the layer to look for places nearby. Once you have picked one, plot a route to walk there – right from your front door! If you prefer to avoid walking along busy roads, you can search for footpaths or quieter roads for your route. Once you reach your chosen greenspace, take a leisurely stroll or a powerwalk around it – whichever you prefer! If you’re aiming to cover a specific distance you then plot a route around the greenspace using OS Maps and record your route to check when you reach your goals.
When looking further afield, vehicular access points are marked to make it easy to find your way.
To cover a longer distance, you could plot a route that takes you walking from greenspace to greenspace. Pick off-road paths between greenspaces, to take the most scenic route possible. For a bigger challenge, you could pick tougher, steeper terrain on your walk to your chosen greenspaces.
Many greenspaces, such as country parks, have features such as cafes and parks, farms, wildlife trails, outdoor gyms and much more. So, you could look out for things like this if you want a day out – then plot a route to walk to the chosen greenspace to get your steps in first!
There are also loads of routes waiting to be discovered on OS Maps, so have a look if there are any ready-made routes for you to follow around your chosen greenspaces.
If you live in a city, but love walking, then you plan walks from greenspace to greenspace, or stick to walking within your favourite. Most cities have greenspaces that are filled with nature and sometimes things such as water features, for you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city during your walk.
Have a look at the Greenspaces for working people for more information on how greenspaces can help you get more active in a city.
Change up your usual walking routes by looking for greenspaces within walking distance to you, then plotting a route there using public footpaths – to really explore the countryside on your way. You could even take your dog along – but check that the greenspace is suitable for dogs first!
Have a look at Greenspaces for dog lovers for more information on using greenspaces for walking your dog.
Research(2) has shown that walking in greenspaces can provide a positive effect on emotional wellbeing – through both the exercise and exposure to nature. Not to mention, walking in its self is great for cardiovascular health and weight control – and is an enjoyable way to exercise! So, what more excuse do you need to put on your walking boots and get outside.
Have a look at Greenspaces for fitness for even more benefits of walking and nature.OS Maps web