Save money with walking and running
The further you can comfortably walk, the easier it becomes to use walking for more of your practical journeys, or even try running.
Build fitness slowly, to walk for health and wellbeing.
Like all exercise, if you’re not used to walking, it will take your body a little while to become adapted to it. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t walk far at first without getting out of breath or experiencing discomfort.
Try starting small and building it up slowly over time. Most injuries are caused by doing too much, too fast, so don’t set off on a 10 mile hike if you’ve not been walking regularly.
Most mobile phones have a step counter which will tell you how far you’ve gone – try starting at 2000 steps a day (about one mile), and adding 500 to your daily goal every week, taking the occasional day off if you feel you need a rest. If you’re patient with your body and don’t push yourself too hard, your fitness will steadily improve.
Avoid injuries – but if you do get injured, it’s OK.
A common mistake for walkers, especially when wearing cushioned trainers, is to pound the pavement hard with your feet. This puts unnecessary extra strain on your joints and increases your risk of injury. Try to walk as if you were barefoot, with soft steps and a short stride.
If you do pick up an injury walking, don’t panic and stop exercising. Focus on other things you can do instead without pain, such as swimming, cycling, or strength training. Once you feel you can walk without pain, you can then start building your distance up again. With active rest, where you avoid pain but don’t stop exercising, most musculoskeletal injuries heal in about two weeks.
Getting good at walking? Give running a try.
Once you feel confident about walking every day, you may want to consider trying running. Couch to 5k is a popular free app that, over a period of nine weeks, gradually builds you up to running for 30 minutes straight. Once you can comfortably run 5k or more, you could try running some of your practical journeys, such as to work or school.
An advantage of walking and running is that you don’t need to be quite as aware of your environment as you do when cycling, so you can use headphones to listen to music or a podcast. Try the BBC Sounds app for podcasts and radio. A walk is also a great time to call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.