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Walking your way to a healthy lifestyle!

The easiest way to get fit and lose weight!

At the beginning of the year, we wrote a blog – How to Keep Your Keep Fit Resolutions. One month in and according to statistics, many people will have already given up on their New Year’s Resolutions such as losing weight or getting fit.

There are many reasons why people give up on their weight loss and exercise goals. Occasionally, legitimate reasons such as injury or health issues can prevent someone from continuing with their new diet and/or exercise regime. But let’s be honest, for many of us, the reason is simply lack of motivation.

Not seeing results fast enough or not enjoying your new routine can easily lead to people quitting within a few weeks of getting started. So what’s the solution? How can we break this cycle and finally achieve our goals?

The trick is to find a healthy diet and/or exercise regime that you enjoy and can keep up long term. On the fitness side of things, it’s looking for something you can do for free, all year round, without even feeling like it’s an effort. Something that will work your full body and has a huge list of physical and mental health benefits, without ever having to step inside a gym.

Something that the majority of us enjoy is spending time with people (or animals) that we love. Our partners, family, friends, kids, dogs… these companions make us happy. And as everyone knows, happiness is the key to success!

What is an easy exercise for a full body workout with added happiness factor?

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – WALKING! Walking is a fantastic exercise to keep fit and is also a great way to lose weight. It’s easy exercise which works all the key muscles in your body, helps you to maintain a healthy cardiovascular and respiratory system and also benefits your mental health.

There’s a misconception that walking is boring, or for old people, or simply to get you from A to B. WRONG! Walking can be a lot of fun and doesn’t even have to feel like exercise. It can be part of a bonding or socialising activity. You just need to change your perception. And more importantly – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

The brilliant thing about walking is that almost anyone can do it, anytime, anywhere. Better yet, you and your loved ones can do it together.

Below is our favourite ways to make walking fun. Just choose the one that suits you and give it a try. 

Take a Romantic Walk with your Partner

Before you scoff and roll your eyes, romantic walks don’t just have to be moonlit walks by the river and sunset strolls along the beach like in films. Heading out on a day time walk through the local countryside can be just as fulfilling for couples.

Take some time away from technology to talk to each other and discover some new places. The fresh air and peaceful surroundings will work wonders on relaxing you both after a tough week at work.

There are a number of websites with walking trail maps and directions, varying from simple 1 mile pub walks through to 10+ mile hikes. Many walking trails have great views and quaint little pubs or cafes along the way too.

Enjoy a Family Treasure Hunt

If you’ve got children, then there’s even more reason for you to be getting outside and walking. It’s important to encourage kids to be active in order to maintain a healthy weight and strengthen their muscles, bones and joints. The outdoors is the perfect place for that. But rather than sit on a bench while they play in the park, why not plan a walk through the local woods as a family?

The outdoors can offer some fantastic visual stimulation for young children, and some interesting places and wildlife for older kids to discover. To ensure they don’t get bored and to make a real fun family bonding adventure out of it, put together a wildlife treasure hunt where they need to be on the lookout for certain animals, bugs, trees, leaves and bridges that you might see along the way.

This can also work on trips to the zoo… which, by the way, is another fun way to get walking with the family – Chester zoo has 11 miles of pathway!

Go Exploring or Shopping with Friends

This is a great one for holiday, but why not do it at home to? It means you can still see and socialise with friends, without going to either extreme of dragging them unwillingly as your new gym buddy, or giving up your goal and heading to the pub!

Shopping is an easy one for friends who enjoy it. To get the most out of it, be sure to walk the full length of the high street or shopping centre. When you’re in the stores, browse all of the departments, even if you’re not planning to buy anything. You and your friends will be kept occupied without even realising how much excercise you’re doing.

For those who don’t enjoy shopping, grab your mates and head out into the wilderness. If you’re close to the country, find a walking trail to take. If you’re close to the sea, plan a walk along the coast. Wherever you are, there will be areas close to you that you haven’t explored before. So take a walk and see what you find! All the way, you’ll be catching up with friends. So this walk will work wonders on your mind and positive energy as well as your body and health.

Walk the dog

If you’ve got a dog, hopefully you’re already a walker. But if you only walk them down the road and back, or just let them run around the garden, then we think you should up your game!

Dogs want to walk. More importantly, they need to walk. Taking your four legged friend for regular long walks will benefit both you and your dog’s health and can also help you both to lose weight. A long walk will also keep them from boredom and frustration which can lead to unruly behaviour like barking and chewing the furniture.

Not only is dog walking easy exercise, but it can even improve your social life – take a 2 mile walk around the local park or woods every day at a similar time and you’ll soon be making small talk with fellow walkers who think your dog is the cutest/best behaved/friendliest in the park. Your dog may even make a friend too!

And finally, walking your dog is an excellent bonding experience. You love them and they love you. So spend some quality time together doing easy exercise in an environment he or she is most comfortable in – the great outdoors!

No more excuses!

To ensure you don’t allow for any excuses to halt your new easy exercise regime, we recommend investing in some waterproof walking boots and a waterproof jacket. That way, even if the rain pours, there’s no excuse not to get outdoors and walk.

Treating yourself will also encourage you in those first few weeks as you’ll want to try out your new gear. The walking boots will also ensure you stay comfortable and avoid any painful blisters which could halt your progress.

Top tips to add to the walking fun

  • Wear a pedometer (or keep your smartphone in your pocket if you have a fitness app) so that you can monitor how many steps you’ve walked. You could use this as a base to set personal goals or even challenge others to see who can clock up more steps the following week.
  • Weigh yourself on the morning of your first walk if you’re attempting to lose weight. Keep up your regular walking activities for four weeks and then weigh yourself again. Unless you’ve changed your diet or other fitness regime for the worse, you should be pleased with the results. This will be great for your motivation and self-esteem.
  • Before you begin your new walking regime, run up and down a flight of stairs five times. Time yourself and see how you feel afterwards. Pay attention to how out of breath you are and how your muscles feel. You could even video yourself doing it and saying how you feel afterwards. Then keep up the regular walking activities for four weeks and then repeat. You’ll be surprised how quickly your fitness has improved!
  • Take photos and record videos on your walk. Whether it’s a selfie with your partner or friends, a photo of the kids or dog playing, or just a picture of the stunning view ahead of you. Capture the moment so you can look back on it and remember how much fun you had, simply by walking.

So there you have it. Walking is easy exercise that almost anyone can do and ENJOY to improve fitness levels and lose weight. Give it a go, you never know!