If I miss a day walking, can I make up for it by doing an hour the next day, as long as I meet the 150 mins a week quota?
Yes, don’t worry! The name of the game is really to get those 150 recommend minutes spread out across the week. So if you are not able to do much on one day, you can try to do extra the next day (as long as it’s not too challenging), or incorporate a few extra minutes here and there throughout your week.
If you make walking more of a habit rather than being a chore, building it into your daily routine, it should be easier to achieve.
Doing 30 mins of walking is tricky for me – will I benefit from 20 mins a day – is something better than nothing?
We should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity across a week. If it’s difficult for you at first, try setting yourself some realistic targets and then gradually increase the time you can do.
Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do 30 minutes of brisk walking a day. If you can only manage 20 mins a day, then it’s certainly better than nothing at all, and very much worth it. You might even be doing other activities already, without realising they count (such as gardening, housework or running around after children).
The muscles in my feet feel a bit uncomfortable when I’ve been out walking but I wear trainers when I do it. Have you got any tips?
There could be a number of reasons why you might feel some pain after walking, these could include:
You might not be used to walking that far or that fast – you need to allow some time for body to adjust. A good way to deal with some post-walk pains in your feet is to make sure you stretch!
It’s not just the sole of the foot that needs a stretch, make sure the calf muscles are stretched too, as they can also play a role in causing stiffness and pain in the feet. Another good way to work out some of the tightness and aches in your foot is to roll a golf ball or tennis ball under your feet.
Are you wearing the correct shoes? – ensure you have shoes that are right for your feet and your intended use. Consider what terrain you will be walking on, as this will impact the type of shoe you need e.g. road vs uneven surfaces.
It’s also important to check that the shoes you buy have appropriate cushioning and support for your feet. It’s good to try on a couple of pairs, as some shoes will naturally feel more comfortable than others depending on your foot type and structure.
Are your shoes worn out? – looking at the tread of the shoes can give a good indication of how much ‘life’ is left in them. If you walk often then think about replacing them every couple of months. It’s important to replace and get shoes that fit properly than pick up a small injury that stops you from going out walking entirely.
Ironically, brand new shoes can also cause pain, because your feet may not have had time to adapt. To help avoid this, it’s best to wear the shoes in before hitting serious miles in them. Wear them around the house for a few minutes each time, increasing the duration until they’re comfortable enough to wear outside.
It’s all about finding what works for you, from the pace in which you walk, to the route you take, the shoes you wear and whether you do it alone or with others. Incorporating it into our routine means both our physical and mental health is getting a boost and if we enjoy doing it then we’re more likely to want to keep it up.
- Walking for depression or depressive symptoms: A systematic review and meta-analysis - The University of Edinburgh
- Exercising to relax – Havard Health Publishing