New to Walking as a Hobby
Starting out as a walker is probably one of the easiest leisure activities to get involved in. After all it’s something most of us do every day, doesn’t require any specialist skills and it’s free!
Different Styles of Walking Related ActivitiesThere are many different ‘specialist’ activities which all fall under the umbrella of ‘walking’. There’s hill walking, fell walking, coastal walking, rambling, hiking, long distance walking and race walking just to name a few. But, in general, they’re all simply based on putting one foot in front of the other to move forward. For some, they’ll be drawn to one particular preference whilst there are others who’ll engage in several different forms of walking and others still who’ll start off with a simple stroll and will try more challenging variations later on. But whatever your choice, starting out as a walker couldn’t be simpler.
Places to WalkYou don’t have to travel very far to find places to walk – it’s literally there the moment you step outside your front door. Even in the cities there are often walking trails or you can simply devise your own route. Most of us will have a park, playing field or some woodland nearby too. If you then find that you enjoy walking, you can move on to explore other walks further afield. Perhaps, you’ve a canal towpath close by or live close to a public footpath that can lead you out into the countryside or, maybe, there’s a National Park not far from where you live. Whatever form your walk takes, you’re bound to find somewhere close by where you can get away from it all and to experience some kind of tranquil setting to enjoy observing and listening to some of nature’s sights and sounds.
PreparationThroughout Britain, we are very fortunate to have some of the most beautiful, varied and interesting walks in the world. We also have very variable weather too so, if you’re starting out as a walker, you should kit yourself out with the right footwear and protective clothing to prepare you for all eventualities when it comes to the weather conditions. There are other articles on this site which give you information about the sort of different clothing and footwear items you should buy and there are plenty of other resources online too. Also, remember to take adequate food and water supplies with you too, particularly if you intend walking for more than a couple of hours.
FitnessProviding you have no physical limitations, you don’t have to have any degree of fitness to start walking. In fact, many totally unfit people begin the long road back to fitness and good health through taking a regular walk as part of their daily routine. However, if you intend getting serious about your walking and have a desire to move on to more challenging walks, it’s important to increase your fitness levels gradually but steadily and it’s useful to set yourself some achievable targets to help you with that. But, don’t run before you can walk. Over-exertion can lead to exhaustion and increases the chance of you getting injured and having to give up altogether. Take your time and build up gradually.
Walking Means Different Things to Different PeopleYou may view walking as an activity in which you can participate with a bunch of other like minded people with whom you can share friendships with as well as enjoying a walk and that’s fine. There are hundreds of walking clubs and Rambling Association groups all over the UK and there’s bound to be one near to where you live. Alternatively, you might cherish getting away from it all and prefer to do your walking alone. That’s great too. For many people, walking alone allows time for reflection, to be at one with yourself and with nature and to forget about life’s worries in a peaceful setting. Walking is such a flexible activity and can mean entirely different things to different people. Some may prefer leisurely strolls in woodland, others may see it as a way of getting fit and losing weight. Some may prefer the exhilaration of ascending wind swept hills whilst others may prefer to walk along the coast enjoying the sights and sounds of the sea.
Whatever your preferences are, there are plenty of resources out there to help you decide how you want to approach walking as an activity. It all begins with one simple step after all.