Walk more every day
Health guidance suggests that you should aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, in bursts of 10 minutes or more to get your heart rate up. Walking is a great way to do this, while also relieving stress, increasing your energy, reducing pollution and saving you time and money.
Check out our film on walking and wellbeing.
It’s easier than you think to add some steps into your daily routine and the more often you do it, the more likely it is to become a habit. Here are some ideas on how to make walking a more regular part of your day.
Set yourself a goal
Start off by finding out how much you currently walk. You could do this by using a pedometer to help you keep track. There are lots of different options out there – click here for more information.
Take note of how much you are walking and set yourself a goal to build this up. A good long-term goal is 10,000 steps a day but start with an easier-to-reach goal and increase your steps gradually.
Once you’ve established how much more walking you’d like to do, try setting aside 10 minutes on a Sunday evening to make a plan for the week ahead and think about where you can get your extra steps in. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Swap four wheels with two feet
Did you know a third of our journeys are less than a mile on average? These shorter journeys are a great opportunity to walk more and boost your health and wellbeing. For example, one ten minute car journey could equate to a 20 minute walk and could burn up to 100 calories.
Here are some examples of shorter, regular journeys that you could try walking instead of driving:
Try making a rule for yourself to walk to and from school, college or university every non-wet day. Walking can really help to aid concentration, and you can help to make it a regular commitment by walking with your housemates, a group of friends or your family. If you’re a parent, walking your child to school is an ideal way to help them work towards their recommended hour’s physical activity every day, while also being a great way to spend time together and get exercise for yourself.
If you work in an office or spend most of your day at a computer, it's really important to take some time away from your desk. Fitting a walk into your lunch break or choosing to walk as your commute can lessen stress, lift your mood and give you some extra 'you' time. Why not find a new podcast or radio station to listen to, download an audio book or make a playlist to enjoy in your day?
Check out our short film on walking to work.
Belong to a gym
If your gym is a short car drive away, why not try walking (or jogging!) there instead to make your exercise go even further - it will also be a great warm up for your workout!
Work at home
Break up your routine by taking a short walk twice a day, such as after lunch or before dinner. It could help to keep you active, re-balance your mind and even help you get more things done.
A trip to the shops
Why not set yourself a goal of walking to the local shops twice during the week, 20 minutes each way?
Other ways to walk more
You may decide to set aside some dedicated time to walk more. Here are some ideas you may wish to try:
- promise to walk at a certain time of day, or find a habit that you can link it to, for instance walking every evening for 20 minutes after dinner or two 30 minute daytime walks at the weekend.
- why not go for an hour’s walk with a friend once a week, or a 20 minute walk every day on your lunch break with work colleagues. Walking is a great way to catch up with the people around you, enjoy a decent chat, get some fresh air and clock up your steps in good company.
- consider joining a walking group. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and explore some new areas of your town. You could even walk there and back to get extra steps in. Visit our walking opportunities page for information on routes, walking groups and activities in your local area.
- try scheduling a walk around your favourite TV programme. Get in the habit of going out for a walk and getting back for when it starts – or turning the TV off after it’s finished and going out for a ramble.
- take the kids on ‘walking adventures’. Explore your neighbourhood, find a new way home from school or make a treasure hunt at the weekend!