The rehab walk

Description: The rehab walk

For anyone who has not done exercise- level walking before, Walking for Health, a national organisation that runs free, guided wellbeing walks, suggests the following:

Warm up first: march on the spot or walk slowly for the first few minutes.

Week 1: start gently with two 10- minute walks on three days.

Week 2 & 3: do tow 12- minute walks on three days each week.

Garndually increase your speed and time over the following weeks up to your target of walking 30 minutes or more at least five times  a week.

If you can do three 10 minute walks from day one, go for it- researchers at Loughborough University found that women who did three 10- minute walks had almost identical fitness to those who walked continuously for 30 minutes.

Your health will benefit every time you head outside

As well  as keeping bones and muscles stong and halving your risk of colds, walking can help protect you  against stroke, heart disease and breast and colon cacer.

It will reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and help control your blood pressure and cholesteriol levels.

For company join a ‘health walk’ group  that is led by an experienced walker through www.wfh.naturalengland.org.uk. Get Walking (www.detwalking.org) also offers a free 12- week nationwide programme of led walks designed for beginners.

The no time walk

Description: Walkit (www.walkit.com)

Walkit (www.walkit.com) will give you a rout with a choice of direct or less busy

For anyone reading this who feels the simply do not have 10 minutes- let alone half and hour- each day to set aside for walking, here is how to integrate the benegits into everyday life. Walk all or part of the way to work; walk home; walk at lunchtime; walk to see friends or to meetings. Tap in the postcodes of your start and final destination and Walkit (www.walkit.com) will give you a rout with a choice of direct or less busy, and it will tell you the time it tales, distance, number of calories you will burn and even how much you have reduced your carbon footprint by walking. It is aimed primarily at urban walikers with circular walks, themed walks anf information about what you will  see en route. The Ramblers’ Association (www.ramblers.org.uk) provides free downloadable maps of the best walking routes in major cities and the rest of Great Britain. So pull on your trainers, and ger moving.

The stress- busting walk

Description: The stress

The combination of physical activity, which helps to burn off stress chemicals, and ‘green exercise’ shown to induce relaxation and boots your mood, is a potent one. Add mindfulness to the mix and you have a walking meditation that will melt away stress in minutes. Walking ‘mindfully’ means shifting your focus from worries about the past or the future to being in the here and now. Start from the moment you set out by becoming aware  of the ground beneath your feet and noticing your breating. Do not think about what lies ahead or where you have been- stay in the present by paying attention to the feelings and sensations you are experiencing now- the breeze in your hair, the sun on your face and the sounds, sights and smells around you. Stay in tune with the rhythm of your breath and of each step. If thoughts  distract you, simply notice them and return your awareness to your breathing.

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