The health benefits of walking

A great way to exercise

Even for those working in the Police Service who are kept active with their work, walking is a great way to exercise. It has been linked to improving an individual's circulation and balance, and it's also a great way to lose some excess pounds. Mental Health Awareness Week, which ran from 16-22 May, also promoted the fact that physical activity, including long walks, helps contribute to a person's overall mental wellbeing.

Whether you go through town or the countryside, it's one of the most sociable forms of exercise because people can talk while they walk. Routes can also be tailored to each individual's fitness level, making it a great way for the whole family to exercise together.

For those who want to use up more energy, why not try picking up your pace or go on a hike across the hills? If you're planning on a power walk or a hike, we've pulled together some useful tips to help you:

  • Warm up your muscles by walking at a slow or moderate pace to begin with, building up your pace gradually
  • Take water with you and ensure that there will be regular points to get clean drinking water on your route
  • Whenever possible, walk with the wind direction and not against it
  • Dress appropriately, with layers if it's cold and reflective clothing if walking near roads (in low visibility conditions it's always best to walk in areas that are well-lit where there is little or no traffic)
  • If you're going hill-walking, plan your route and let someone know the details
  • Take a map and compass if you're going for a hike in the hills, or countryside areas you're unfamiliar with, especially as mobile phone signals aren't guaranteed in all areas.