Walks are a great way to exercise and meet people in your local area whilst enjoying the beautiful Somerset countryside. Walking for health and fitness can also be easily combined with going to work, school, shopping or walking the dog.
Walking regularly will make you healthier in many ways:
- relieving stress
- improving heart health
- lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels
You can find out more about the health benefits of walking on the NHS Choices website.
A great way for you to get started on the path to better health is to get involved in local walks. These are aimed particularly at people who take little exercise or live in areas of poor health.
Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. It’s an underrated form of exercise but walking is ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels who want to be more active, and you could even make new friends whilst doing it.
Organised walks can have a positive impact on your health, boost your social life and give you a break from the stresses and pressures of everyday life.
Walks are organised by a variety of organisations. You can find information about walks in Somerset, and throughout South West England on the Rambler Wellbeing Walks website. You can also read about Somerset Health Walks by visiting Somerset Activity & Sports Partnership (SASP).
Nordic Walking is adapted from off-season cross-country ski training, in which skiers kept in shape over the summer by using their poles without snow.
Nordic walkers use hand-held poles to propel themselves forwards while walking. This means the upper body muscles are used as well as the legs and you can move faster than ordinary walking. Your body works harder, but the support given by the poles makes it feel easier and takes the pressure off the knees and leg joints.
Nordic Walking is becoming ever more popular as a form of exercise.
- It is good for cardiovascular fitness
- It tones both the upper and lower body
- It burns more calories than regular walking
Nordic Walking can be done by anybody but does require a specific technique that must be learnt properly in order to get the most out of the activity.
For more information about Nordic Walking and how you can get in touch with an instructor near you, go to the Nordic Walking website.
Starting a walking programme
If you are looking to start walking regularly to improve your health and fitness, then following a walking plan is a good way to start. It allows you to build up the length and intensity of your walks gradually and is achievable for people of all ages and levels of fitness. You can find walking plans and advice on how to get started on the Rambler Wellbeing Walks and Ramblers websites.
Zing Somerset is a motivational tool to help you start and sustain physical activity. You simply sign in, pick your activity and log how many minutes you’ve done. There are also monthly challenges to try, or you can find new activities and places to do physical activity around Somerset.
Accessible walks and buggy walks
We have a range of useful links and advice on our Accessible Somerset page, which includes information on sensory walks as well as accessible options for mobility scooter, wheelchair and buggy use.
Buggy walks are designed to give everyone in Somerset with young children a chance to exercise and meet new people. They are led by qualified leaders and are suitable for both pushchairs and wheelchairs. Children remain the responsibility of the adult they came with.
Balsam Buggy Walks at Stourhead occur every other Thursday (phone for next walk). Meet at Stourhead Visitors Centre, Stourhead. Walks last approximately 45 minutes depending on the speed of any toddlers walking and will take place on paths around the beautiful gardens of the Stourhead estate. To find out more contact The Balsam Centre:
Phone: 01963 31842
Accessible walk leaflets