Regular brisk strolls can bring real benefits. Here are 6 top tips for how to build walking into your way of life.
Research from University College London and the British Heart Foundation suggests that walking between one and two hours a day can cut the risk of strokes in older men by as much as 30 per cent. (The speed you walk isn't as important.) If you think that sounds like hard work, these ideas might help:
1. Find the right footwear
With good walking shoes you can travel greater distances in greater comfort. Your heel shouldn't slide up and down, there should be firm arch support and the shoe's forefoot should bend with the natural bend in your own foot.
2. Walk with a friend
If you've got a mate waiting for you, you're more likely to get out of bed on a cold winter's morning or drag yourself away from the telly.
3. Step out for charity
Pledging a small sum for every mile you walk is a real motivator. Note the amount you owe after each walk on a chart, and when you reach your target, send off a cheque.
4. Do your errands on foot
Easy enough in a town, but if you live in the middle of nowhere, drive to within a mile (or more) of your destination and walk the rest of the way.
5. Go exploring
Varying your route and terrain will keep you mentally engaged and give different leg muscles a workout.
6. Walk the dog
Haven't got one? Offer to walk a friend's or volunteer for The Dog's Trust (dogstrust.co.uk), which expects a regular commitment, or The Cinnamon Trust (cinnamon.org.uk), which looks after the old and terminally ill and their pets.
7. Get a Pedometer
A pedometer can really give you a little more motivation, find out how far you've walked and how much you've burnt off. Then try to beat your best.
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