We may have been enjoying the recent spells of warm, sunny weather but perhaps when we changed into our summer clothes we might have noticed that they were a bit more of a tighter fit than last summer!
One really easy way to get fit and loose some weight is to increase your walking.
Walking benefits our health in lots of ways:
o A brisk walk will help to burn off calories and regular walking will help improve the waistline.
o Walking helps to build stamina and is good for strengthening our muscles and bones.
o It’s a great stress beater and gives us the opportunity for contemplation.
o Regular exercise such as walking can cut your risk of heart disease and can even lower your blood pressure.
o Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes Type-2, asthma, stroke as well as some cancers.
You could try using a pedometer to make a daily note of how many steps you have taken. This way you can start off with a baseline number of steps and then work gradually towards increasing your daily totals.
The majority of us walk between 3,000 and 4,000 steps a day and you could make your first target to reach 10,000 steps a day. Regularly walking 10,000 steps a day would make a significant impact on your health. 10,000 steps burns off approximately 300 to 400 calories so you can see how our modern sedentary lifestyles can contribute to expanding waistlines.
You don’t have to carry out your walking activities all in one big chunk but can spread it out during the day and check your pedometer periodically to observe your progress. Ten minutes of brisk walking adds up to approximately 1,000 steps.
If you are working offshore, you will probably be doing a fair amount of walking already as you travel around the rig along walkways and up and down steps. Many rigs have excellent gym facilities and you can always pop on some headphones and then use a walking machine – you’ll be amazed how many steps you can clock up per session.
When you are back onshore then you could continue your walking activities and while building up your walking distances, you could enjoy some country rambles. If you really get the walking bug, you might consider a walking holiday in the UK or abroad. Tourist offices can usually provide you with excellent material about local walks. For example in the UK you could set yourself a challenge and try walking The Penine Way or The West Highland Way.
If you don’t have easy access to the countryside, then a city walk can also be satisfying and you could finish it off with a jog round your local park.
Walking doesn’t require expensive sports kit – you just need good fitting shoes that won’t cause you blisters and loose comfortable clothes that allow you easy movement. Nor does it require commitment to a family dog, though that’s the way Energy’s editor keeps reasonably fit by being taken “walkies”.
If you are out walking during sunny weather, remember to take some sunscreen with you and wear a hat. It’s very easy to get sunburnt on exposed areas such as the back of your neck. If you decide that you would like to try out some more challenging walks over longer and rugged terrains, then you will need to have well-fitting walking boots and remember to take a map, water, a snack, a waterproof jacket and your mobile phone along with you. It would also be a wise move to let someone know in advance where you are going and what time you expect to be returning.
Walking can be a pleasant social activity that you can enjoy with family or friends. However, if you consider yourself to be more of a “lone wolf” and prefer your own company then walking would be an ideal physical activity for you.
The charity, Living Streets, recently commissioned a survey to see who people would chose as their ideal walking companion and the winner was Kate Middleton, followed by Cheryl Cole and then David Beckham.
At the other end of the scale, the three most unpopular walking companions were Simon Cowell, David Cameron and Russell Brand.
You can read more about the survey on www.livingstreets.org.uk in the “Latest News” section dated April 18, 2012. While you are busy walking your way to health, you might like to contemplate who you would choose as your favourite walking companion as well as who you would least like to be walking alongside?
Kelly Paterson is an occupational health advisor/health promotion nurse at Abermed