Walking is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels because you can adapt the intensity of the walking, how often you do it and the distance covered to suit your own capabilities.
Walking regularly can help to keep you fit, control your weight and reduce your stress levels. It’s flexible and a great way to explore your local area without the need of a car.
Walking is not about planning long hikes. The easiest and quickest way to start feeling the benefits is to make walking part of your everyday routine.
This could include:
- Walking instead of using the car for short journeys
- Getting off the bus a stop earlier
- Walking children to school
- Taking the stairs instead of the lift
- Parking further away from your destination and walking the rest of the way
Walking requires no equipment, no expense and you can do it anywhere. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes and you’re ready to go.
You can find information about walking safely on the Somerset Road Safety website
Walking with Children
Get out and about with your children and discover parts of the local area you haven’t seen before.
A great way to get children walking on a regular basis is to make it part of your daily routine. If you can, leave the car behind and walk to school.
For longer walks, plan things along the way to keep children interested, like a picnic or going to a park. Make sure the walk is the right length and level of difficulty for their abilities.
You can find fun and informative road safety activity sheets for key stage 1 and 2-aged children on the Somerset Road Safety website.
Walking with very young children may require a pram or buggy. Accessible Countryside has lots of routes that have been rated as suitable for people with buggies and wheelchairs.
School crossing patrols
School Crossing Patrols provide a great service, helping children get across busy roads on foot on their walk to school, and are hugely respected by the school and wider community, including local drivers. The children get to know their patrol person, providing another form of interaction on their way to school.
Schools recruit people to be School Crossing Patrols and then contact Somerset Road Safety who will train the Patrols and supply them with the necessary resources. You can find out more on the Somerset Road Safety website
If you think your school needs a School Crossing Patrol, please contact Somerset Road Safety on 01823 423430 or email email@example.com. This may also be something your school identifies through its travel plan.
Walking for older people
Walking is a good way to exercise for older people as it is low impact, less strenuous and easier than many other forms of exercise. Regular walking helps overcome some of the physical problems associated with getting older by:
- Improving balance, coordination and joint flexibility
- Preventing the development of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis by strengthening bones and joints Improving muscle strength, and increasing confidence, stamina and energy levels
- Reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, dementia and confusion
- Improving your social life as it’s a great way of getting out and about and if you do it with friends or join a walking group, it can be a great way to socialise
You do not have to do long hikes over hills to feel the benefits of walking. A walk to the shops or a weekend stroll is just as good.
Walking with disabilities
Walking can be enjoyed by almost everyone, including many people with disabilities and health problems. Gentle exercise, like walking, is beneficial to most physical and mental health problems. In all cases, if you have a serious or long-term medical condition, are very inactive or have a condition that could be aggravated by exercise, you should consult your doctor before beginning a new walking regime.
Walking to work
Walking to work cuts out the expense of the car and the hassle of traffic. It is a great way of getting some exercise and fresh air into your daily routine. Walking regularly can help to reduce stress and is a great way to unwind after work.