Walking is the oldest and most natural form of physical activity that can be done anywhere, at any time! Fancy equipment is not necessary, injuries are rare and walking can be sociable and fun! The following offers some tips and advice to help people to get started!
- Wear comfortable footwear – you don’t need to buy expensive shoes. A pair of comfortable shoes or trainers with ankle support will get you going.
- Wear comfortable clothes – a few thin layers can be better than one thick layer. This will allow you to layer up if you are cold or shed a layer when you get warmed up from walking briskly.
- A hat can help to keep you warm in the cold weather and keep the sun off you in warmer times.
- Wearing a pair of gloves will keep your hands warm without having to keep them in your pockets which can be uncomfortable when walking.
- Take a waterproof jacket or an umbrella to keep you dry – a light jacket that you can easily carry is best.
- If you have things to carry a small backpack is more comfortable than other types of bags. It’s also more comfortable than carrying things in your hands.
- Bring a drink – water is best. If you are planning a longer walk take along a small snack to keep your energy levels up.
- Relax and note your posture, Stand up straight and look ahead as you walk.
- Breathe deeply and in time with your stride.
- Swing your arms freely by the side of your body. Let them swing in time with your stride.
- Consider your route – if you are walking in the dark you may decide to walk in a well light area for safety. You may also want to walk on routes that are well used.
- Stretch out before you go walking and afterwards.
- If you are feeling sick don’t walk.
- If your breathing becomes laboured or uncomfortable slowdown and if necessary stop for a rest.
- If you have eaten a meal wait a while (up to 1 hour) before walking.
- Carry a mobile phone with you or tell someone where you plan to walk and for approximately how long.
- Carry a small amount of money with you, just in case you need it.
- If you enjoy listening to music or the radio when you walk, just check that you can also hear the traffic particularly if you are walking on the road or crossing junctions.
- Be visible – wear a high visibility vest or armband. Particularly if you are walking in the early morning or late evening.
- If you are walking in the dark, carry a small torch.
- Enjoy being out in the fresh air.
- Walk at your own pace.
- Organise to walk with other people.
- Change your walking routes to see new places and meet new people.
- Relax and unwind on your walk, take some ‘me time’.
Mind your local environment
- When out walking remember of dispose of rubbish properly – take it home.
- Be considerate of others, including other people who use the route, or live on it.
- To find out more about promoting the responsible recreational use of the outdoors logon to leavenotrace.org.
Slí na Sláinte Walking Routes: There are over 250 Slí na Sláinte walking routes around the country, all waymarked and great for getting out for a sociable walk and talk with family and friends. For more information visit irishheart.ie
Urban Parks: Offer great areas to walk in cities and town around the country.
National Looped Walks and Forest Trails: There are over 175 National Looped Walks developed throughout Ireland, ranging from short strolls to longer walks. There are also over 250 forest walks developed in forest sites around the country. For more details visit sportireland.ie, coillte.ie and getirelandwalking.ie.