By Gill Stewart at
What a weird couple of weeks!
With a huge proportion of the world confined to their homes, exercise has become the daily norm for many who actually did less of it before before their enforced confinement. Long hours, commuting, sitting at desks and hectic lives all causing them to flop on the sofa once at home in the pre-Coronavirus days. Now, Families are joining in their daily dose of Joe Wicks and even Mr Motivator and the Green Goddess have reappeared on our screens (Great news for us seasoned fitness professionals of a certain age here at WALX UK!) Even Sandy Toksvig revealed on TV recently that she has no idea why she has started to exercise now but never did before!
Walking has also become something that people now see as a luxury pastime, their daily treat even. Suddenly we are seeing people beginning to realise just why we at WALX bang on about it so much!
That precious time outdoors, the energising effects on the whole body and the fact that you can feel yourself relax with every step! Ahhhh. Feels so good doesn’t it? It grounds you, reconnects you with nature and is the most natural way to exercise at the right level for you.
For us, Walking has been a passion for years and there have been occasions when our attempts to share it with others were met with a luke warm response. “I haven’t got the time”, or “its too slow to be doing me any good” were typical retorts. As were, “I wouldn’t know where to walk around here” or “I would get lost in 5 minutes”
Now we are getting lot’s of messages from people who simply can’t believe how something so relaxing and gentle can also be invigorating and provide toning and weight loss. Even though there is currently no socialising on or after walks (usually one of our key bonus factors here at WALX) people are still beginning to catch the bug. A simple rhythmic action learned in childhood but used simply as a way to get from A to B (and often avoided at all costs by parking cars as near to places as possible) is suddenly taking centre stage at last!
We’re not talking trekking or hiking in stunning locations here either, that’s off limits to most due to travel restrictions and a need to keep our time out of the house to a minimum . NO, we are talking a 20 minute blast around the block or quick circuit of a local park where people are beginning to discover things they just don’t notice when they hop in the car.
This phenomenon is not new to those of us who regularly lead group WALX. We love watching people discover the beauty, history and often secret walkways that are right on their doorsteps – urban or rural, its quite surprising how much people miss because they don’t walk anywhere.
Obviously as well as a love for walking, our mission is to help people gain mental and physical benefits too and we like to keep upping the ante to help them lose weight, gain energy and learn to relax with nature. To that end, our message to all you novice walkers out there is……… WELCOME ABOARD and KEEP PROGRESSING!!
Once you have mastered a simple circuit or distance, the temptation is to simply go further or faster but it’s actually possible to add full body exercises to every step in one form or another. Take Nordic Walking (or pole walking ) for example. In gym terms, this is like changing from the jogging machine to the cross trainer where your arms and legs are being used with every step. Because it engages 90% of the larger muscles, it is also a great calorie burner and enthusiasts report weight loss and postural improvements within weeks.
Other simple moves that involve no kit are adding simple lunge steps every now and them or using bursts of speed in order to create a ‘circuit’ style drill. select some markers en route and use them to add fast sections into your daily walk. Hills are another obvious workout element for any walk, take our advice and never avoid them. Just literally take them one step at a time, don’t look up towards the top which can cause you to lose confidence – focus on the next step and ask yourself how you are feeling. When your legs or breathing are telling you to stop….STOP. If you take note of whereabouts on the slope this occurred, we can guarantee that you will manage further on your very next attempt. Gradually you will begin to enjoy the challenge of the hill and of course, there will always be the reward of the views at the top. One word of caution though…. its often the downhill that impacts on knee joints so turn your feet to the sides and zigzag your ways down rather than allowing your weight to go over those poor old knees!
Another thing to do whenever you are out, is to take a moment to breathe deeply and be silent. We love to be mindful and at one with nature at WALX and it’s something we can all benefit from. Listen to the birds, touch the tree bark, place your hands on the cool damp moss or maybe even strike a yoga pose or two? We love to practice deep breathing both whilst walking and as a cool down – the oxygen boost is unbeatable.
Watch this space for more videos and ideas that will help you walk your way to a healthier, more toned you in the coming weeks as the WALX team prepare everything from hill drills to warm ups and cool downs. You’ll notice that we have a unique holistic approach to exercise and really don’t take ourselves too seriously!
Our groups across the UK know that having fun, being motivated by a supportive professional and having access to hundreds of expertly guided routes every day makes walking a really effective way to exercise for them. SO, to all you newbies, we will be waiting to welcome you to fun sessions that get results soon. In the meantime, stay in touch and check out your local group as they might have some on line tips that will help you ‘step into a new you’ even before you can meet up with them. To find your nearest WALX or Nordic WALKING UK pop you postcode in here and you will get the most out of every step for ever more!