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Here in the UK, it’s National Walking Month, with the aim of, you’ve guessed it, encouraging us to walk more – whether walking to work, walking to school, exploring in the countryside, or just walking for walking’s sake.
Our Po-zus love to go for a walk, so here are 5 suggestions to try out if you want to get walking more.
1) Walk at lunchtime
One of the suggestions on the Living Streets website for National Walking Month is to go for a walk at lunchtime. Instead of just nipping out to your nearest local sandwich shop, they suggest setting up a ‘Food Exclusion Zone’. On a map, draw a radius of 1 km around your place of work – any sandwich shops in this area are out of bounds. This means that you need to walk a minimum of 2 kilometres at lunchtime – and who knows what new culinary gems you might discover, as well as getting some fresh air to keep you alert through the afternoon.
2) Walk 10,000 steps a day
10,000 steps is the recommended daily amount of steps per day, which works out at about five miles. If you’re someone who is motivated by achieving goals, then wearing a pedometer and setting yourself a 10,000 steps challenge could be the motivation you need. I undertook a 10,000 steps a day for a week challenge in March for the charity CARE. To hit my target, it meant being creative in my journey to work including going different routes and walking to different stops, walking at lunchtime and choosing to walk rather than getting public transport when going to meet friends. I discovered new parts of the city, and since then I’ve integrated more walking into daily life. £10 on a cheap pedometer could be money well spent.
3) Walk for no purpose
A recent article on the BBC website lamented the slow death of purposeless walking. A survey found that only 17% of walks are ‘just to walk’, and that includes dog walking. Yet walking has been proven to stimulate creativity, so next time you hit a creative block or are in need of inspiration, probably the best thing you can do is to just get up and go for a walk – just for the sake of it, and not to get somewhere in particular.
4) Go on a micro adventure walk
Alastair Humphreys is an advocate of the micro adventure. It’s easy to think that if we want to have an adventure, we can only have one if we go away to some exotic land for weeks at a time. But micro adventures are adventures to be found on your doorstep, and can be had in a spare few hours at the weekend or in a evening. One micro adventure suggested in an article in The Guardian ‘Do Something’ magazine was to simply set out for the horizon. Look out of an upstairs window and choose a point on the horizon, a church spire, a tree, a block of flats. Then try to reach your destination without using a map. It doesn’t matter if you don’t reach it, that’s half the fun. Along the way, take a picture every 10 minutes to help focus on unexpected detail.
5) Walk barefoot
If you want to give your walking a different dimension, then barefoot walking is a great way to refresh your soles. It’s best to try this on grass, so head along to your local park and wake up your toes. We tried it out on Hampstead Heath on our recent walk with Way of Nature and loved it.
For more inspiration, check out the National Walking Month pages on the Living Streets website.