The great thing about walking is that you don't need any experience or special equipment to get started. It's also something we can do anywhere – whether you live in a busy city or in the quiet countryside.
To get started, all you need is a good pair of shoes and an idea of where you would like to explore. You could stay local and wander round a park. Alternatively, have a look online or in a local walking book for ideas of new places to explore.
If you live in the UK, 'Pocket Mountains' do walking guides for various areas across the UK. These routes are often family-friendly, with a few hill walks for those with a bit more experience!
Shoes are the most important part of any walking kit. Before heading out for a walk with new shoes, wear them around the house for a few days to help break them in. Once you've done this, wear the shoes for some short walks to make sure they are 100% comfortable.
Despite all of these preparations, shoes can still cause blisters when out walking. In case of this, take a first aid kit on your walks and make sure it is fully stocked up with plasters and wipes.
When walking in the UK, it is quite common to be exposed to a variety of weathers on the one walk. So, make sure you head out with plenty of layers that you can take off if it gets too warm, or that you can add on when it is chilly. Waterproofs are also an absolute must for any walk – even if the day starts off bright and sunny!
Walking new distances may initially lead to some muscle stiffness or pain. Practising some gentle stretches before and after you walk can help to prevent and ease this. Focus on the legs first of all but don't forget that walking may work out other areas of the body, such as the back – especially if you are carrying a heavy backpack!
Good foods provide the energy to sustain the body on a long walk. What we eat on return can also help the body in its recovery from the activity. So, what are some good options to try before, after and during your walk?