Whether you’re looking to lose weight, improve stamina or are just recreationally enjoying the great countryside, walking has benefits for your whole lifestyle. It’s free for a start (once you’ve kitted yourself out of course), so invest in some walking boots and get outdoors…
Does walking count as exercise?
Absolutely! Significant research has been conducted into the benefits of walking, which we’ve handily summarised for you here:
- A Study at the University of Pittsburgh found overweight people completing a 30-60 minute brisk walk a day lost weight regardless of any other lifestyle changes.
- Walking is a weight bearing exercise, which means it protects against osteoporosis.
- A Study at the University of Colorado found regular walking can prevent peripheral artery disease, which is said to effect around 20% of elderly people.
- Walking is even able to prevent the common cold! Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found people taking daily walks suffered from 25% fewer colds than those who didn’t.
Walking is also said to have a hugely positively impact on your mental health. Those suffering from depression can benefit from short walks 3-4 times a week and this has been shown to enhance mood levels. Even if you can only manage a short walk a couple of times a week, it’s still an improvement.
How much do I need to do to get the benefits?
As much as you can! Of course, once you’re kitted out with your walking boots and are ready to go, you may want a goal to aim for. Health experts are still recommending 10,000 steps a day, which is approximately 5 miles. For weight loss, you’d need to increase your steps to 16,000 so it’s probably worth investing in a pedometer.
What about the footwear?
Some top outdoors retailers stock some formidable boots that will ensure you don’t lose your footing. Here’s brief guide to get you started:
BERGHAUS – A bit of a household name, Berghaus consistently delivers quality outdoor pursuits equipment, and its walking boots are no exception. Their Exterra range of walking boots are about as durable as they come and if you’re looking for something more lightweight you might want to look at the sandal option.
HAGLOFS – Haglofs originates from Scandinavia, so you’re looking at walking boots and shoes to stand up to the extremes. We’re talking cold, ice, rain, woodland, marshes, mountains and rocks. If you’re looking for something for an extreme walking trip, perhaps a mountain trek, then you’ll find something here.
PATAGONIA– If you’re after something that’s a little bit more lightweight and behaves more like a trainer shoe, then Patagonia has a fantastic range of walking shoes for hikers, without being too cumbersome. They also have the advantage of being multi-functional and you could get away with wearing a number of their styles with a pair of jeans out to the pub!
COLUMBIA – Some of the boots and shoes can be a little on the grey side. Not Columbia’s range. Think fairly loud. Bright colours, funky styles, but ultimately great practical walking shoes. Not quite the hardcore styles offered by Berghaus or Haglofs, but something a little lighter than will certainly stand up to some hard walks over medium-challenging terrain.