Steps to Walking

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
Friedrich Nietzsche

I think walking can cure all.

When I write that I realise it’s quite a sweeping statement but of all the exercise I ever get, it’s walking that I enjoy the most.

There are so many benefits to walking:

  • Gives me time to think
  • Gets me outdoors into some fresh air and gives me much needed vitamin D
  • Gives me exercise
  • I get time to see things that I wouldn’t see if I was jogging or in a car
  • Helps me to stay fit and healthy
  • Makes me feel good
  • I get to spend quality time with my doggie
  • It’s low impact exercise which doesn’t put any joints under stress
  • Doesn’t require any specialist gear
  • Can be done in any weather
  • Walking for just 20 minutes makes me feel great
  • It can be a very sociable or solitary endeavour
  • I can walk anywhere (mostly) and everywhere!

I tracked my walking over a week recently and noticed it’s not unusual for me to walk 18-25 miles per week.  That sounds quite a lot but it’s only an average of 2.5 to 3.6 miles per day and when you think about all the walking you have to do anyway (walking to the car, walking from the car to home etc. etc.)  that knocks off at least a mile, so it’s not that much at all.

I haven’t always walked that much.  When I became a desk jockey it put paid to a lot of daily exercise.

You find yourself sitting without breaks (very bad!), then you find yourself getting lifts too and from work (because I don’t drive), and by the time the weekend comes you’re either too stressed, too busy, or just plain worn out to contemplate taking a walk just for the hell of it.

Then I realised I missed walking.  A lot.   So I started it again which was just as well because we rescued a Jack Russell and then I really had to walk!

I started off just by heading to the shops.  I’d walk, pick up a newspaper and walk home again.  Then I’d walk round the woods to take a few photo’s, then I’d walk into town instead of catching the bus and before I knew it my mileage was building up.

So you want to start walking but don’t know where to start?

  • Start small…
  • Don’t think big, think small.  Walk to the end of the street, walk round the block.  The smaller the walk the more inclined you’ll be to do it.
  • Get your shoes on.  If you still don’t feel like going that far then don’t – just put your shoes on.  The act of putting your shoes on sub-consciously makes you want to head outside.  Once the shoes are on the walking starts.
  • Don’t walk fast.  It’s about enjoying the walk.  Walk at a pace that feels nice.  If you’re walking with a friend or partner, walk at a speed you can still comfortably have a conversation with without feeling out of breath.
  • Don’t feel strange.  I always used to feel a little continuous when walking out by myself.  As I walked past cars stuck in traffic I was sure they were looking at me, and at worse judging me!  They are not.  What do you think when you see someone walking down the street?  Absolutely nothing (unless they are dressed in a chicken suit).
  • Go somewhere nice.  You don’t have to start walking from your front door.  You could start from the beach, or the woods, or the park.
  • If you’re walking by yourself don’t think the bogeyman is coming to get you.  So many ladies I know wouldn’t dream of walking around the countryside on their own but I do.  Just tell someone where you’re going and what time you’ll be back.  You’ve got more chance of trouble in the centre of a packed city.
  • Make walking a habit.  Start just by adding walking into your daily routine.  At the beginning or end of your day, it doesn’t matter.  After a few weeks I guarantee you’ll be hooked!

On my Life Ticket I’ve got down to walk the Coast to Coast, which was devised by Alfred Wainwright the famous Lake District walker.  It is a 182 mile walk from St Bees in Cumbria all the way across to Robin Hoods Bay in Yorkshire, which I like to think I’m in training for now.

I can’t think of anything more ideal to walk right through both the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors!

If anyone has attempted this walk please let me know. I’d love to hear from you.


Cover photo courtesy of Alvaro


6 responses to “Steps to Walking

  1. A really nice post and good advice, Sophie. For anyone new to walking or just getting back into it, I can recommend The Complete Guide to Walking by Mark Fenton.

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