Walking - Advice
On the basis of current research and evidence the Northern Ireland Physical Activity Strategy is recommending that, to contribute towards health, people should participate in activity as follows:
Most days of the week (at least 5)
At a moderate intensity – the equivalent of ’brisk’ walking
Intensity of activity is related to an individual’s fitness level; what is appropriate for one individual may be too fast or slow for someone else – it will depend on the level of activity an individual is used to The main message regarding the intensity of walking is:
Walk at an intensity, which makes you:
- Breathe a little faster.
- Feel warmer.
- Have a slightly faster heart beat.
- You should feel comfortable and you should be able to talk.
For a minimum of 30 minutes – ideally this should be in one continuous session of activity and can be accumulated e.g. 3 x 10 minute sessions or 2 x 15 minute sessions
Loose and comfortable clothes are always the best option for any form of exercise. Just remember to take note of the weather and dress appropriately i.e. waterproofs, sunhats. Wheelchair users should wear gloves.
A comfortable pair of shoes is really all you need to get started. The most important requirement is that you have a ’good fit’. The greatest pressure is at the heel and ball of the foot, so this is where the most cushioning is required. Any shoe which provides comfort and support and will not cause blisters will be suitable to use.
The Walking for Health campaign gives the following tips to help find a suitable pair:
- Casual shoes with heavy rubber soles are fine. Good running shoes with heavy soles are also suitable as are some of the lighter walking boots.
- Whatever kind of shoe you select; it should have arch supports and should elevate the heel slightly. Make sure there is enough room for your toes.
- Choose a shoe with uppers made of materials that "breathe" such as nylon mesh or leather.
Tips to get started
- Think before you drive less than a mile.
- Get off the bus a stop earlier.
- Always take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Park your car further away from you destination and walk.
- Throw away the TV remote control.
- Join a local walking group or take a friend with you.