The forgotten exercise – walking

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So many people are all about running, sweating like a b*tch in the gym, and working out until they collapse, that walking – something so simple and so good for you – often gets overlooked as an exercise. I love to hike, feel the wind on my face, smile and nod at passers by and gaze at the views. There are so many pretty places to walk in the UK and you don’t need to be super fit to do it either.

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On Sunday I went for a hike around the Surrey hills to test out my map reading and navigation skills. We did a nice brisk 12k walk over varied terrain – some road, some flat and some hilly trails, through forest and fields.

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With all the running I’ve been doing lately it’s nice to spend some time appreciating the scenery at a slower pace.

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So here are my tips for hiking in the UK:

  • Find a group: walking isn’t just for oldies, there are lots of companies offering walks. I often do the 17-mile walks offered by Trek Hire UK on Saturdays starting in the beautiful village of Shere. I’ve met some of my best friends doing this walk. At £15 it’s a great way of meeting people and a good value day out. For more information, visit the Trek Hire UK website here.

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  • Always carry a waterproof coat: The weather can be quite unpredictable in the UK, so always carry a rain coat just in case. Something like this Rab Women’s Momentum jacket is ideal to stash away in your rucksack. Available for £130 from Cotswold Outdoor.
  • Wear decent walking boots or approach shoes: Trainers aren’t going to cut if in rainy and wet conditions, and to prevent ankle roll, decent walking boots are a must! Look to spend at least £110 on a decent pair. Something like these Scarpa Mythos GTX boots would be ideal for walking in the UK. Available for £130 from Cotswold Outdoor.
  • Carry plenty of water: Lots of people think ‘I’m walking in the UK, they’ll be a shop nearby and I won’t sweat much so don’t need much water’ – think again! Always be prepared and carry at least a litre for a day’s walk.
  • Take a packed lunch: Unless your route convenes at a pub at lunch time (if so, good work – I like your style!), then take plenty of snacks and a packed lunch with you. I love Eat Natural bars and pistachios.
  • A decent hiking rucksack with hip support: I swear by my Deuter rucksack. It has travelled everywhere with me, from Kilimanjaro to Mont Blanc and is still going strong. LD mountain centre sell this women’s Deuter Spectro bag for £84.99.
  • An extra hoody or fleece: In the cooler months, not so much now, I carry an extra layer just in case it cools down, especially towards the afternoon/evening.
  • In my bag: I always carry sunglasses, sun hat/cap, pain killers, camera, phone, sun block, tissues and nappy sacks, and my purse.

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Get walking people!

sian

6 thoughts on “The forgotten exercise – walking

  1. I agree also – I’ve no idea why walking get’s so overlooked..Now I’ve moved home I’m only 3.3miles from work so I get up early and enjoy a power walk to the office&get to unwind on the walk or jog home. Whilst we have this stunning weather more people should get out walk and appreciate how lovely the UK can be.

    • Here here! I brisk walk up a hill can feel as hard work as a run, but the beauty of walking is you have no Garmin telling you your pace, no one telling you that you can’t stop and drink in the view.

  2. Walking is great, I hang too much of my self-esteem on numbers when I run; minutes per mile, distance, heart-rate etc. When I am walking I just go places and look at them (and sit in pubs and feel smug). Such a stress-free form of exercise, and good for pretty much everyone.

    • Couldn’t agree more – it’s all about the numbers isn’t it running, but walking is lovely. Actually trail running is quite similar I find too, obviously at a much faster pace. :-)

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