With gyms just opening up after a long period of closure, swimming baths still shut and local lockdowns and social distancing part of the “new normal”, you may be feeling a tad discombobulated when it comes to getting out and getting active. 

Without a clear weekly or daily routine, it can be tricky to get your fitness life back on track, but one thing is always there for you, always on tap and always free and convenient  – walking!

Whether you live in the midst of the city, in suburbia or out in the sticks, you can get your trainers on and hit the pavements, towpaths and country lanes whenever you have a free half hour. 

If you’re used to a more vigorous form of cardio, you may be unsure that walking is doing any good, so here are four reasons why walking will always benefit your health…

  • Walking is great for your health

According to health resources including our fabulous NHS, brisk walking can help to keep your heart healthy, build your bone health, support your joints, lower your blood pressure and help improve circulation! Pretty impressive for something you can do at any time with a few spare minutes and some decent trainers…

  • Walking can aid weight loss (if that is your aim)

If you want to keep your weight at a healthy level or if you are planning to lose a few pounds, walking can help.  Walking briskly for 30 minutes burns around 200 calories – not excessive, but if you add a daily walk to a healthy eating plan full of fruits and veggies, loads of water and maybe a session or two of resistance training every week, it will all add up to some great results. 

Always aim to lose weight slowly and steadily, with a balanced diet and a healthy activity plan. Crash diets are nobody’s friend…

  • Walking can help with your mood

Mindfulness was – and is – the mental wellbeing buzz phrase of the last few years, but walking can be a great mindful activity to take your thoughts away from general worries and stresses of life, and help to lighten your mood. 

According to the USA site Arthritis.org, walking releases natural pain­killing endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise. A California State University, Long Beach, study showed that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods were.

Website and resource mentalhealth.org says that walking can reduce stress and anxiety, improve wellbeing and even increase our self esteem, so if you’re feeling low or a little down, head out for a walk and see how you feel afterwards. 

  • It’s sociable!

Walking together is a great way to get to know new people, and if you’re not planning too much off-roading, you can take your baby and buggy too! Why not arrange to go for a walk with some mums in your area? You can social-distance if required, and chat chat chat as you go!

Making friends is a good way to stay happy when you have babies or small children, and making plans with other mums will get you out of the house and into the fresh air.

What’s more, it’s free, convenient and environmentally friendly – and you may discover some secret gems in your local area.