It’s fairly likely that you woke up in the morning of New Year’s Day with the intentions of a healthier year. So, why not try walking yourself fit!
Every year is the same - feeling slightly sluggish from the indulgences of Christmas, the go-to New Year’s resolution is to ‘get healthy’.
Whilst many of us head to the gym to sign up for a contract we are unlikely to use once January has passed, the great outdoors is often forgotten about – it’s the best place to get some exercise and it’s completely free! So, here's our guide on how to walk yourself fitter
The benefits of walking
There are so many benefits of walking, ranging from assisting
weight loss to reducing stress and blood pressure. A brisk walk can help you
burn calories, improve the health of your heart, and do wonders for your mental
health too. Regular walking is proven to reduce the risk of many chronic
illnesses including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and asthma.
In order to make sure your walking counts as part of your recommended level of physical activity, you should walk at a pace that slightly increases your breathing speed. Just 30 minutes of brisk walking a day at least 5 days a week can make you feel significantly fitter- and it’s likely that you’ll have more energy, and a better night’s sleep! So, what’s stopping you?
Walking in the great outdoors
There are endless reasons as to why exercising and walking outside beats the gym- not just because it doesn’t cost a penny, and is open 24/7! The four walls of a gym can become a little monotonous, with not a lot to look apart from the clock. Take a walk outside, and even if you walk the same outdoors route every day, it will always feel different, whether that is because of the weather or the ever-changing surroundings. In such an interesting environment, you’ll stop clock-watching and will spend longer exercising than you normally would when cooped up in a gym!
Sure, a treadmill can be a great workout, but your activity will always be limited. Nothing can beat the natural terrain to mix up your workout and burn some extra calories.
Not only does the great outdoors act as nature’s very own gym, it’s also a certified mood-booster. Mental health charity Mind found that country walks can reduce depression and help to raise self-esteem, and there’s no doubt that the fresh air of the outdoors gives you a real energy boost.
What do you need to walk yourself fit?
The beauty of walking is that you don’t really need anything, apart from a good pair of shoes to get started. However, if you’re thinking about taking this new pastime more seriously, there are a few gadgets that could help you along the way.
The key to sticking to a New Year’s resolution is all in the planning. So, how about using OS Maps to plan your walking route - either by plotting them yourself or by using other people's routes for inspiration? You could set yourself a weekly, monthly or even yearly goal for the distance you'd like to cover, and then get walking!
More about OS Maps
OS Maps: How-to video guides
A fitness tracker
These clever little devices are a great way of becoming aware of your fitness levels, and are excellent aids for motivation. Setting goals on your fitness tracker, such as a daily step count, is a great way of not only setting yourself challenges, but also tracking your progress as your walks get longer. Check out our range of fitness trackers here.
If you're lucky enough to live close enough to some more adventurous routes, you may want to take extra measures to ensure you’ve got everything you need to get stuck in. The OS Complete Walker’s Kit contains everything you need to get started, from a dry bag to a compass and a first aid kit.