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Walking

15 September 2021

Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active. As little as 10 minutes brisk walking can count towards your overall active minutes.

A brisk walk is about 3 miles an hour, which is faster than a stroll. You can tell you're walking briskly if you can still talk but cannot sing the words to a song.

senior 5096748 1920 from Pixabay

Equipment needed

Any shoes or trainers that are comfortable, provide adequate support and do not cause blisters will do.

If you’re able to take a longer break from caring and go for a longer walk, you may want to take some water, healthy snacks, a spare top, sunscreen and a sun hat in a small backpack.

How to get started

If you're not very active but are able to walk, you can increase your walking distance gradually to build stamina.

If your joints are a problem, attending a class at your local pool may help as the water helps to support your joints while you move and can help you strengthen your muscles so that walking and other activities of daily living become easier.

If you cannot leave the house but have access to a garden, you could walk around there. If you do not have access to outdoor space, you may prefer to try an exercise video you can do indoors. 

The NHS Active 10 app is great for beginners and allows you to track how much and how fast you have walked. To keep things interesting, it gives you goals to work towards and rewards your progress. Download Active 10 from the NHS website

 

Top tips

Make it a habit

The easiest way to walk more is to make walking a habit. Maintaining a routine can be difficult for carers when things are unpredictable but you could try walking to the shops, using the stairs instead of the lift or going for a walk with the person you care for as and when you can. Ramblers have a Walking for Health programme with ideas and tips to start walking designed for people with low levels of fitness. Their Go Walking page lets you find different walking routes near your postcode and it features a range of walks for all levels of fitness as well as a variety of length walks.

If the person you care for uses a wheelchair, The Outdoor Guide and the Ramblers website have information on lots of accessible routes.

Listen to music

Walking while listening to music or a podcast can take your mind off the effort and help you to use the walk as a break to relax and de-stress. Music can also get you into a rhythm and help you walk faster and you’ll be surprised at how fast the time goes when you're walking to your favourite tunes. 

Mix it up

Add variety to your walks. You do not have to travel to the countryside to find a rewarding walk Towns and cities offer interesting walks, including parks, heritage trails, canal towpaths, riverside paths, commons, woodlands, heaths and nature reserves. For inspiring walks, visit Walk Unlimited

Join a walking group

Walking in a group is a great way to start walking, make new friends and stay motivated. Restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic unfortunately mean that group walks have been suspended in some areas but in others they are getting started again with social distancing and other safety measures in place. Look out for walks that are happening in your local area or contact the groups below.

Ramblers organises group walks for health, leisure and as a means of getting around for people of all ages, backgrounds and levels of fitness.

Carers Stepping Out runs walk for specifically for unpaid carers across England.

Take it further

If you enjoy walking and want to give running a go, there are some great tips for beginners on the NHS website. The Couch to 5K podcast series is a very popular beginners running programme which can help you get started.

 

This information has been adapted from the NHS website.

Whatever activities you take part in, be sure to take steps to keep safe and comply with the local or national government guidance in relation to COVID-19. These warm up and cool down suggestions from the NHS can also help reduce the risk of injury.

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