- Find your local walk scheme
- Get walking
- Keep walking
- Running health walks
- News & Events
10 great reasons to walk
Published: 2nd January 2012
There are a million good reasons to walk. Here we select 10 of the best.
- You don’t have to be fit to start walking
- Walking is free
- You don’t need special equipment
- You can do it anywhere
- There is a health walk scheme near you
- 'Great medicine' for several health conditions
- Many schemes have links with local health professionals
- It’s sociable and enjoyable
- You get to know your local area
- Evaluation shows how effective walking is
Walking is the ideal physical activity for those who wish to start gently and build up their fitness.
Although 30 minutes of brisk walking a day is recommended, you don’t have to do it all in one go to start with. Just make a start at a level you're comfortable with, and then build it up.
For example, you might walk for 10 minutes three times a day or 15 minutes twice a day at first.
I was never a walker. When I was diagnosed with angina my GP recommended gentle exercise. I tried joining a gym but found it boring so thought I would give walking a try.
Beryl Pateman – read Beryl’s story
Unlike most things in life, walking will not cost you anything. It is free for everyone - urban, rural, young and old alike.
Walking can also save you money - short journeys in the car are expensive and polluting – so why not walk, save money and get fit.
There is no need to splash out on special gear before you start walking. A good pair of shoes that are comfortable, provide good support and don’t cause blisters is the only equipment required.
Loose fitting clothing allows you to move more freely. Wear thin layers rather than heavy, chunky clothing!
You can start walking anytime and anywhere. Walk to your local shops, to school, to work or to the bus stop.
The easiest way to walk more is to build it into your daily routine:
- Think before you drive less than a mile – walk to the local shop or post box
- Get off the bus a stop earlier
- Park the car further away at the supermarket
- Take the stairs instead of the lift
- Enjoy a walking lunch – walk to the park and eat your sandwich
- Borrow a friend’s dog and take it for a walk
- Walk the children to school
There are over 600 local WfH schemes in England and they are well spread out across the country. Why not join the one nearest to you ... and visit others when you are on holiday?
Your local group will support you every step of the way and provide:
- Led health walks for absolute beginners
- Trained walk leaders
- Other people to walk with
- A health questionnaire at the start of the walk
- Safe routes
Walking outdoors is an effective medicine for a variety of health conditions.
Dr. William Bird MBE, founder of Walking for Health
Regular brisk walking can help with a wide variety of health conditions from diabetes to osteoporosis and from high blood pressure to obesity.
As the health benefits of regular walking continue to be recognised, an increasing number of health walk schemes have the backing of their local GP surgery.
Enjoying a walk with others through your own neighbourhood is an ideal way to get talking and to make new friends.
I believe that the health benefits of walking are not about how fast you can walk or how far but about how much enjoyment you get from being out in the fresh air amongst a group of like-minded people. Derek Pickering – read his story
Sandra Bridge, Harrogate walk leader, says health walks and the friends she has made through Walk Out Well 50 in Harrogate quite literally saved her life – read Sandra’s story
Discovering or re-discovering old paths and tracks in your neighbourhood is one of the joys of joining a health walk scheme. Whether you live in a rural area with fields to ramble through or in the middle of a city with parks and squares to walk in, there is great pleasure to be had.
Workplace walks – organised for employees at lunch time – and walks based at the local football club are other great ways to get to know your area.
Over the last few years, Walking for Health has commissioned several very useful evaluation studies. The reports contain a great deal of interesting and vital information that shows just how much health walks have achieved.