Walking is an easy way to stay fit and healthy, both in body and mind. If you’re looking to start walking for health, fitness, and wellbeing, we’ve got you covered with the latest kit, podcasts, books, apps, and more! You’ll be a hiking pro in no time…
LEARN: Find walking inspiration from books, apps, and podcasts
Podcast: walking for health hacks from Vivobarefoot
The Vivobarefoot health broadcast (free on YouTube) features tips and natural life hacks from experts, such as Dr Rangan Chatterjee, adventurer Ross Edgley and from the minimalist shoe manufacturer’s own experts. Covering five different pillars – reconnect, relearn, reboot, reset and rewild – the content focuses on walking for health, tuning in to your natural movement patterns, and boosting your physical and mental health.
Online: connect with others who are also walking for health, fitness, and fun!
Sign up to WALX (£14.95 per annum, WALX.co.uk) and join one of the fastest-growing walking communities around.
Founded by sports therapist Gill Stewart, WALX offers a number of different walking events across the UK, including stroll-based community walks, charity projects, themed Explorer WALXs, wellness walks, plus lots more! You can also choose from Forestry England-affiliated Nordic walks, alongside various virtual classes.
Apps: The best walking apps on the market
- SATMAP ACTIVE 20 GPS AND SATMAP XPLORER GPS APP (satmap.com) both enhance your walking experience. Smartphone apps tend to excel on short trips and in good weather. Mapping performance is superb on today’s phones, and being fully connected, features like search and snap-to-track come as standard.
- ACTIVE 10 (nhs.uk) is an NHS-endorsed app (free on smartphones) that tells you when you’re walking fast enough to benefit your personal fitness levels.
- VISORANDO (visorando.co.uk) is an online reference service and mobile app that allows you to find or create your own walk on an OS map then share it with others
- EVERY STEP (openfit.com) features 15-60-min walking classes, plus trivia, games and motivational music, and an engaging virtual community.
- ECHOES (echoes.xyz) lets your explore ‘soundwalking’ with GPS-triggered audio tours from all over the world.
Books: add these to your reading list for more walking inspiration…
Secret Britain: Unearthing our mysterious past, by Mary-Ann Ochota (£20). Archaeologist and TV presenter Mary-Ann Ochoa takes you on a trip around Britain. The book includes awe-inspiring information about the British isles, such as the tales behind prehistoric rock carvings at Ilkley Moor, neck rings buried by Boudicca’s ancestors in Norfolk, and footprints of Iron Age leaders from Dunadd in Argyll.
Walking with Glenn Berkenkamp: 35 wellness walks to expand awareness, increase vitality, and reduce stress, by Glenn Berkenkamp (£15.99). This explores how contemplative walking can help you get to know yourself better. Glenn guides you on walks for expressing gratitude, grief and for being grounded, and much more.
In Praise of Walking: The new science of how we walk and why it’s good for us, by Shane O’Mara (£8.99). Neuroscientist Shane O’Mara explores the impact walking has on your body and brain. The author explains how the brain and nervous system give you the ability to balance, weave through a crowded city and run your “inner GPS” system.
KIT: Essential equipment for walkers
Poles: try walking poles to boost your walking benefits
If you’re walking to improve your health and fitness, walking poles are an essential piece of equipment. Using walking poles adds intensity to your walk. It also gets your upper body working more, especially if you press them into the ground. The Leki MCT 12 Vario Carbon Poles (£185) are great for cross-country walking with good grip and a rounded top for comfortable use downhill. You can also easily adjust them depending on your height.
Hydration: fresh water on the go
Walking can be thirsty work. Plus, if you’re out on a hike in nature, it can be difficult to find a clean water source. Enjoy clean water on the go with LifeStraw Go 1L (£49), which filters water from any source to provide you with safe drinking water. The replaceable active carbon capsule lasts for 1,000 litres and filters out bacteria, parasites, microplastics, chlorine, organic chemical matter, dirt, sand, and cloudiness. It even gets rid of bad odours.
Feet: Combat foot pain caused by walking
Sometimes, even the best shoe science is no match for dreaded plantar fasciitis. This painful condition is caused by overworked heels and arches. Why not try Enertor PX1 Walking Insoles (£29.99)? A whopping 75 per cent of testers with plantar fasciitis said the insoles improved their comfort and performance. These insoles are provided to the NHS and are also mandated by the British Army.
Try a walking event to challenge yourself…
Walk the Walk’s Thames Path trail (September 11) has a 22-28km route, a 50km from capital to countryside one, or a 100km ‘all the Way’ challenge. Find out more details by heading to walkthewalk.org.