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Walking for weight loss

Being active is key for a healthy body and mind. Good old fashioned walking is easy, free and accessible to most. Let’s have a look at how it can help weight loss, and what we can do to mix it up.

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What’s so good about walking?  
Walking is a fantastic low-impact exercise that increases fitness and can help prevent heart disease and high blood pressure. It strengthens bones, can improve balance, and lift our mood.  
  
Walking for weight loss  
A leisurely stroll won’t greatly impact your weight loss but walking at an energetic pace for a sustained period certainly will. A brisk walk at a moderate intensity is perfect. You’ll struggle to sing at this level of exertion, but you should be able to have a chat. Brisk walking counts towards the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week that the NHS recommends we aim for.  
  
As our fitness levels increase, we might find that it’s no longer challenging. We can step things up a bit by increasing the intensity, duration, or distance of the walk. This is where hills are very handy.  
  
What do I need to start walking?  
Not much. The main thing is to wear comfortable shoes, trainers or walking boots. And, let’s be honest, we’re in the UK, so a raincoat will likely be handy too. If it’s hot, wear a hat, take water and slap on some sunscreen. If it’s cold, wear layers so you can disrobe as you warm up. Some of us are lucky enough to live near scenic walks, others not so much. Fear not, there’s things we can do to help. Here are some top tips to add interest to your walks.  
  
Geocaching. A hi-tech treasure hunt of sorts, perfect for all the family. People hide ‘geocaches’ all over the UK, and it’s down to you to find them. To play you need a GPS-enabled device (your phone) to act as a treasure map and a geocache account. Search for geocaches near you, put the coordinates into Google Maps and off you go.  

Savour storytime. Walking with your nose in a book might result in it having an unfortunate meeting with a lamppost, but download a good audio book and you’ll be laughing – or terrified, or emotional, depending on the genre you choose.  

Latest titles can be found at audible. Project Gutenberg has a vast collection of free ebooks and audiobooks in many different languages. Some local libraries provide access to audiobooks too.  

Podcasts. Many tv and radio shows as well as celebrities and sports people do their own podcasts. They cover a range of interesting and varied subjects. Check out the download chart for popular podcasts or search by subject or person.  

Walking is fabulous because we can do it almost anywhere and there’s lots of resources to help. A quick search online will bring up local footpaths and bridleways. The National Trust has an interactive map of walking trails, as do The Ramblers and Walking Britain.  

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