So youíve fallen by the wayside! Your best intentions have been scuppered and you havenít walked for a few days, a few weeks or even a few months. Donít panic! It happens to all of us from time to time. Living gets in the way and our plans are disrupted. The important thing is not to get disheartened and to decide to start again. Making the decision to start is actually the hardest part.
Firstly check out all your gear. The only essential gear for walking is a good pair of walking boots or trainers which are a good fit, with adequate room to move your feet and good thick soles. Wear loose tops and trousers or shorts and two pairs of light socks and if necessary carry a light rain jacket and some bottled water. Tops made from polypropylene fabric are excellent for drawing or wicking sweat away from the body. Moisturise your face before you set out and wear a sun screen cream if you are sun sensitive. On colder days wear a fleece and layers of clothing so that you can remove or replace clothing as the temperature demands.
Try to establish a habit, so get ready and go walking every day if only for a short period.. Mrs Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister once said ĎNever underestimate what you can achieve in ten minutes.í Small stretches of time are valuable. Every day you go establishes a routine and in a very short time you will find you donít want to miss your walk.
It is quite easy to lose fitness if you have been sedentary for a period so do not expect too much of yourself when you re-start your walking programme. For health and fitness your goal should be to walk for thirty minutes for at least five days per week. It is not necessary to do this all at one go. You can break it down into smaller portions, for example three ten minute walks. In this way you can utilise small stretches of time in the morning, lunch tme or evening. Remember too that every step counts so wear your pedometer from early morning. Your goal is to walk 10,000 steps per day.
Here is a simple four week walking programme to get you started again
Week 1 Aim to walk for 50 to 60 minutes this week or ten to twelve minutes per day. Time yourself, walk for five minutes at a moderate speed and turn back. You may not even need to leave your own street or garden to complete this. The important thing is to decide to do it and get going.
Week 2 Aim to walk 90 minutes this week or 15 minutes per day.
Week 3 Aim to walk 120 minutes this week or 20 minutes per day
Week 4 Aim to walk 150 minutes this week or 30 minutes per day.
Keep a notebook and record the time spent walking every day and the number of steps walked. Recording your progress is a great motivating tool. Reward yourself too as you complete your goals- a new pair of socks, a new moisturising cream or a nice shiny notebook. You donít have to break the bank! Donít underestimate the effects of simple rewards.
When you achieve your goal of walking for 30 minutes five days per week it will be very easy to increase the number of days walked or the length of time. Simply add five minutes per day or week until you achieve the time and distance which fits in with your lifestyle. Take rest days and if you find any level difficult stay at that level until you feel more comfortable and then move on. Donít push yourself too much. There is no mandatory rule. Remember you are in charge and listen to your own body.
Enjoy your walking and feel proud of your achievement!