Published: 1st JUNE 2016

Start walking more to improve your health

Walking is one of the easiest ways to be physically active – it doesn’t even have to feel like exercise. All you need is a comfy pair of shoes, and once you get moving you’ll feel fitter, healthier and happier. Walking doesn’t cost a penny, and fitting it into your daily routine is easy when you follow our top tips.

How to fit walking into your daily routine

Ditch the car and walk instead

For short trips to the shops, work or school, walking is an ideal way to get active.

Go for an evening stroll

You could make walking a family affair, starting a good habit for all the family.

Combine walking with other modes of transport

If a journey is too long, why not combine it with another mode of transport? You could walk with the kids to school and get the bus back, or take the bus to work, jump off a stop early and walk the rest of the way.

Make a plan and set yourself goals

Start by walking 10 minutes a day, and build yourself up. Ease yourself in gently, get used to walking a certain distance and then add to it.

Find a walking buddy

If you commit to meet a friend you are more likely to stick to it. Alternatively, a local walking group (often advertised in your local paper) might suit you better.

Track your progress

Use a pedometer or other wearable fitness device or app to keep track of your progress. It’s satisfying to see how many steps you’ve taken, the distance you’ve covered and how many calories you’ve burned.

Small changes

During your lunch break, go for a walk instead of just sitting at your desk.  

Walking enables you to explore your local area on foot and get to know your community. Why not set yourself a challenge to walk in all your local parks and walking paths? The National Cycle Network is not just for cyclists and it is a great place to start your walking adventure; use our map to find paths near you.

Walk to benefit your health

Regular physical activity dramatically cuts the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. It also reduces cholesterol, lowers high blood pressure and is good for our sense of wellbeing.

Walking is a great way to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week, and comes with added benefits:

  • brisk walking burns as many calories as jogging over the same distance
  • walking is good for your heart and lungs
  • it strengthens muscles, bones, and joints
  • walking improves your mood and boosts confidence
  • it helps maintain flexibility and coordination as you get older.

It’s great for our planet

Walking doesn’t leave a carbon footprint, just your own. And if we all swapped one weekly drive for walking, traffic would reduce by at least 10%. Imagine that. Safer and quieter streets for children to play on and for people to socialise in.

Find traffic-free paths for walking or days out on the National Cycle Network

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