/ Fitness

Want an easy way to stay fit? Go for a walk

Staying active is the first part of any fitness campaign. One way to do that is by going for long walks, here’s why.

Walking is an underrated fitness activity. That’s because it’s something we all do every day.

The thing is: when you do it with increased intensity and over longer distances, it’s a good form of aerobic fitness.

Walking for fitness doesn’t mean a casual stroll or walking the dog. You have to go out with two aims:

  • To increase your heart rate
  • To walk far enough for it to count

First then, you need to be hitting a good pace. You can work out what your normal pace is by using an app on your phone to walk one mile.

Next, walk that same mile with the intention of completing it faster.

There’s a general principle here. You should be walking fast enough that you soon warm up - even on a cold day.

With distance, there’s another general principle. You should walk at least five miles a day. You are active if you achieve around 10,000 steps a day - or about five miles.

If you do more than that, great. But there is one more thing to keep in mind.

The watch word when using walking for fitness is consistency.

Get your miles in every day. The combined effect will see your aerobic fitness improve. And assuming you are moderating how much you eat, it should be enough to keep you fit and healthy for s long time.

You don't always think of walking as a way to stay fit. Many people will tell you it’s better to go running.

Well, running will speed up the process of aerobic fitness and weight loss. But it can also be destructive.

What I mean by that is: you can end up with injuries that hold you back. Some people are able to run miles and miles every week. They are the lucky ones.

For big, heavy people like me, it can be a much more difficult process to stay fit and injury free.

Also, with running, you have to make an effort to fit it in to your life.

You can go for a walk anywhere and at any time. You can choose to walk to the shops, visit relatives or whatever. The point is, you are active.

Which brings me to another point. Most runners tend to go for one run a day. When you are a walker, you could be walking many times during the day.

That means your day has more periods of activity in it than runners or people that go to the gym.

So, if you are looking for an easy, convenient way to stay fit and active, give walking a go. But make sure you walk with intent - strolling won’t do it.