How to Get Fit for a Walking Holiday in 2017
Walking is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to get fit – and offers an excellent way to enjoy a holiday with friends or family. If you are keen to book a walking holiday, or have a long distance trail planned, pledge to get a little fitter and enjoy more walking. Here we bring you a guide to getting fitter for a walking holiday in 2017.
Why is walking good for you?
Walking has a number of physical benefits including improved cardiovascular and muscular health, as well as weight loss. Walking has also been shown to reduce the chances of depression and to fight dementia. In the long winter days, especially at the start of the year in the UK and northern Europe, walking can be a great way to boost feel-good hormones. Even just 20 to 30 minutes of daylight while walking can be a huge mood improver. As we move into spring and summer, the lighter nights are a natural motivator to get out there!
How to squeeze in a bit of walking
One of the most common excuses for avoiding exercise is a lack of time. But there are many different ways to squeeze a bit of walking into your everyday life. It's important to start with easy walks and to build up your mileage carefully. Even 15 minutes of walking a day, three times per week, to start with will be beneficial and you can increase this by around 10% each session each week.
Top tips for walking a little more
- Get up 15 to 30 minutes earlier and head out for an early morning brisk walk
- Walk the kids to school
- Get off the bus or train, or park the car, a mile or two from the office and walk the rest of the commute
- Walk and talk at work instead of sitting in an office for a meeting
- Go for a lunchtime walk before or after eating
- Walk to the shops/swimming pool/into town instead of taking the car on shorter journeys
- Encourage family fitness by walking new routes and trails at weekends
- Walk in new places and discover different routes.
Tips for walking motivation
Sometimes it’s the thought of getting up to go out for a walk that stops you in your tracks. Here are a few tips for motivation:
- Agree to walk with a friend three times a week. You are more likely to stick to the plan if you set a date.
- Keep a chart of calories burned if you walk for half an hour. Pin this to the fridge and see how inspired you become to walk more often
- Wear a pedometer or fitness gadget. It’s satisfying to see the walking steps mounting up.
- Join a walking group.
- Add music to your walk. So long as it’s safe to do so, you might find that listening to fast or upbeat music as you walk is a great mood booster.
- If you really can't be bothered, tell yourself that you'll go out for five minutes and if you still feel like sitting down you can. What normally happens however is that most people end up walking on.
- Try walking off-road for different views and to reach new destinations.
Walking holiday fitness
One of the most frequent questions for people who are hoping to book a walking holiday is, “How fit do I need to be?” The answer is: “It depends on your choice of walking holiday.” Walking holidays can range from easy going walks of a few hours each day and drive and hikes to far more energetic and challenging hiking holidays. Macs Adventure sell walking holiday to suit all fitness levels but the more you’ve walked beforehand the more you’ll enjoy your holiday. If you plan to go on a walking holiday that requires lots of hill climbs and long days on your feet it’s important that you have built up your walking mileage in the months before the trip. The rule of thumb is to start within your comfort zone and then to increase your effort and mileage by about 10% each week. Aim to walk three times a week, perhaps with two shorter walks mid-week and a longer walk at lunchtime. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to get fit.
Wear your walking boots
When walking to get fit make sure you wear the walking boots or shoes that you plan to take on holiday. You can wear trainers for some of the walks but it's important to wear walking boots and walk on similar terrain if you are heading off for an off-the-beaten-track hill or mountain walking holiday. We know it might seem like an obvious thing to say but not everyone does this. Wearing in your legs and your footwear are both as important as each other. Now all you need to do is decide which walking holiday will best suit you – and do a little bit of training towards it.