Many countries, including the United Kingdom, have been in lockdown due to the Coronavirus. Many people have therefore lost the ability to get out and about and engage in keep fit activities and sports. The U.K Government has allowed its citizens the opportunity to get outside for a period of exercise each day as well as essential reasons. Exercise is defined by the government as a walk, run or cycle ride. This can either be on your own or with those you live with. Areas in parks with exercise equipment have been closed to prevent close contact and the virus from being spread on the apparatus.
Not one for running, I have been trying to get in a brisk daily walk. I downloaded the app Active 10, which is free and very useful. The app is simple to use and works all the time in the background. It measures each day how many minutes you are walking and divides this into brisk and slower walking. You can set a daily goal in 10-minute increments, and for each 10 minute period that you achieve, you are awarded a virtual trophy. The app never has to be started or stopped as it is always on, so you won’t forget to activate it. Merely taking your phone with you is all you have to remember.
Walking is an incredibly useful form of exercise, particularly brisk walking, often described as walking fast enough to still be able to talk but not able to sing. There has been a lot of research done on the benefits of walking and unlike running is unlikely to cause problems with your knees and other joints being damaged by the pounding on pavements. It is also suitable for all ages and the majority of people even with health issues if done correctly.
Walking - FREE Exercise
Walking is free for all exercise and can be more easily incorporated into our daily routine. Maybe we can walk to work or part way, take a lunchtime walk, to the shops and other places rather than use the car. It seems far too many children arrive at the school gate in large vehicles, not only depriving them of needed exercise but also polluting our atmosphere and creating traffic chaos in the school vicinity. Many of the children live within walking range and if not perhaps parking a little further away from the school and walking might be an option. This will increase the amount of walking both parent and child do.
All walking is good for us, but a brisk walk will significantly improve our cardiovascular system and help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Walking keeps us supple and helps build muscle to keep us moving in the future. Even a few days without walking will see us start to stiffen up and find movement more difficult. This is even more problematic as we get older.
Walking is also beneficial for our mental health. Exercise helps our brains to repair. There is also the benefit of getting a different view and if we are near the countryside enjoying more of nature. However, even in towns, there are gardens, trees, parks and other areas where we can enjoy seeing plants, birds and animals.
Apart from sensible footwear and appropriate clothing for the weather, walking does not require any special equipment. This is unless you wish to become more adventurous and take up hiking in more extreme areas and weather conditions.
I know that I am looking forward to my daily walk. Although it is always starting from home and with a limited area to walk in, I do enjoy it. It is amazing though how many different routes I can take and just reversing the direction does make a difference to what I see. I am fortunate that on the housing development where I live, there is a brook with a walk alongside it, some open spaces plus nearby fields and a pond. Also, there are birds with their beautiful songs and squirrels getting up their antics. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes and ears more than perhaps we used to before the lockdown was introduced.
How are you doing in this coronavirus lockdown? Please leave a comment in the box below.