WALKING - A WAY TO START TO GET FIT

DONT underestimate the power of walking. It torches calories, is good for your mind and can be a great way to start building a fitness routine.

The NHS promotes it as a way to lose weight and reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, strokes and some cancers.

It is perfect for people starting to get fit. It is easy to slip into your daily routine – needing no special equipment or shower – and is low impact.

 On the march: Dog walkers on the Seven Sisters in East Sussex mix with participants on August’s 100k walk from Eastbourne to Arundel, organised by Action Challenge

On the march: Dog walkers on the Seven Sisters in East Sussex mix with participants on August’s 100k walk from Eastbourne to Arundel, organised by Action Challenge

There are three components to getting fit: exercise (for fitness class, personal training session, solo work); food and nutrition; and activity (the daily movement of life, such as walking).

Half the battle of getting fit in the modern world is making time for it. Make an appointment with yourself to do exercise, rather than it being the first thing dropped when others make demands on your time.

Once you have made ring- fenced space in your life to walk, you can then – if you wish – substitute other exercises such as running or a cheeky little bodyweight routine in the park. Walking for fitness should be more focused than strolling.

Think of it as walking as if you are going down a corridor to make a complaint. Keep the head up, chin parallel to the ground, shoulders back and relaxed, chest lifted and abs engaged. Use your arms to give you some drive. Stride with purpose.

A great way to start running is to mix up walking and running, reducing the walking time as you get fitter. This is the basis of apps such as Couch to 5k that take you from being a non-runner to race- ready.

If you are looking for a meaty walking event, Action Challenge run a 20km walk around London in January. It can be harder than you think, but you do get snacks and a medal if you finish. See here for details

If that whets your appetite, they organise a 100k London to Brighton walk in May.