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Fitness and exercise: Walking back to healthiness

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It's the simplest of fitness routines and to make sure you get the most out walking as exercise, fitness expert and co-founder of Walkactive walking courses, Joanna Hall, gives us her top five tips…

1. Studies show that individuals who wear a pedometer are significantly more physically active than those who don't – so walk to the shops and get one.

2. Use your pedometer to record the number of steps you take each day for four days and work out your average steps per day. Ideally you should include a weekend and work day to get a true reflection of your weekly activity. During the first week you must match your baseline number of steps every day, then for the next four weeks, depending on how fit you are, add 500 or 1,000 steps to your baseline and match that new baseline each day. This approach gets you fitter gradually and helps you feel in control. 

3. Establish your Optimum Walking Pace - the pace at which you feel slightly out of breath, that makes you feel you need to take off a layer of clothing. It's most probably the pace you may walk at if you are late for a meeting, but don't want to break into a run.

4. Your footwear is the most important asset (after your legs, of course). Look for good support in your ankle and forefoot - comfort and support do matter.

5. Aim for a certain number of steps in each of three or four sessions throughout the day rather than having to achieve a huge target of steps all in one go at the end. It also challenges you to use walking as a form of travel and is therefore better for the environment, too.

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