Walking is a physical activity most can do no matter their level of health and wellbeing. Participating in walking is likely to provide great benefit to your physical and mental health at little to no cost.
Why should I aim for 10,000 steps?
The goal of 10,000 steps is the recommended daily step target for healthy adults to achieve health benefits. To learn more about walking and combining it with your activity level visit the 10,000 Steps website.
Do I need any special equipment for walking?
A good pair of sneakers that won’t cause discomfort during your walk, water bottle, sunscreen, hat and/or umbrella are likely to be the only pieces of equipment you need for walking.
You might have individual preferences for walking equipment. Some walkers like to use walking poles to support their balance. You might like to measure the amount of time you walked for or measure the amount of steps you took during your walk with a watch, wearable technology or a walking app on a smart phone.
Key tips to consider as part of your walking plan
1. Start with a walking goal that is realistic for you.
The goal needs to be challenging but achievable. A detailed and well-defined goal will give you the direction you need to make progress. Your goal should outline a specific plan that can be measured within a certain time frame.
For example: on Tuesday and Friday, I will meet my friends at the sailing club car park and walk to the lighthouse a 2.5km return. I will also walk this route on my own every weekend. The first time I did this walk, it took me 25 minutes. My goal is to go faster and finish the walk in 20 minutes after 12 weeks.
Want to learn more about successful goal setting? Visit healthdirect
2. Consider the barriers to walking before they arise.
Sometimes it can be hard to keep motivated, especially when life gets busy. It is important to identify ways to overcome these barriers. Plan how you will maintain being physically active when this happens.
For example: share your goals with family and friends. They can provide motivation to keep you walking. Also, there are ways to overcome the common excuses we make for being sedentary. Visit Better Health to learn how to overcome the barriers.
3. Consider using wearable technology to measure your activity.
Pedometers, smart phones and watches or activity monitors can provide useful feedback on the number of steps taken and extra motivation to achieve your daily stepping goal.
If you like the idea of measuring your steps, you can buy wearable technology from sports, electronic or technology stores.
4. Join a local walking group
Joining a walking group provides opportunities to catch up with friends and meet others in your community.
Heart Foundation Walking is Australia’s largest walking program. You can participate as a group leader, group member or choose to walk solo.
The program helps you to track your steps and find walks near you. The Heart Foundation also has a walking app that can be downloaded to your phone.
5. Consider changing the scenery to maintain your motivation.
Your local area is likely to have several different types of walking opportunities for you. Look for walking paths that help you discover local attractions and gain access to services in the community. National and state parks also have walking trails to suit a range of abilities.
For example: consider walking at your local sports field, taking a trail through a National Park or walking to the supermarket rather than taking the car.
6. Remember, doing any physical activity is better than none.
If travel, employment or hobbies require you to be seated for an extended period of time, break up periods of sitting with some activity. Consider a walk during lunchtime or take the stairs rather than the lift. If you currently do no physical activity, talk to your GP about starting an activity plan – walking is a great start. Gradually you can build up to the recommended amount as outlined in the National Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour guidelines.
For more information on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle by walking, visit the 10,000 Steps website.