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Walking in Bradford district

Group of Walkers

Walking is a great activity for everyone, whatever your age or ability.

Whatever your reason for walking, it’s easy to do, free and can benefit your health and wellbeing. You can fit walking into your life whether it’s walking round the garden, a short stroll to the shops or a countryside hike.

Walking is an easy form of exercise to take up and maintain.

For walking to count towards your recommended level of physical activity, you should walk at a pace that increases your breathing speed and heart rate.

Walking for just 20 minutes a day can help you feel good.

Group of Walkers

What are the benefits of walking?

  • Can help you manage and maintain a healthy weight
  • Can contribute towards a good night’s sleep
  • Can help to reduce blood pressure
  • Can help keep joints flexible
  • Can help towards managing stress and good emotional wellbeing
  • Reduces your risk of heart attacks, stroke, some cancers, diabetes and dementia
  • Brisk walking can help contribute towards reducing bone loss in women
  • For older adults, walking more often is great for contributing towards increasing general mobility and muscle strength in the lower body. It can also help improve balance and coordination
  • Improves your mood, keeps your spirits up and increases confidence
  • Improves energy levels and stamina
  • Can help you stay independent
  • Can help you meet new friends and reduce isolation
Older Man Stretching

What if I have mobility or health conditions that make walking more difficult?

Moving less throughout the day might make walking more difficult and make it harder for you to get started so here are a few tips:

  • If you sit or don’t move for long periods, try breaking this up with light activity. Sitting or not moving for long periods is a risk factor for your health so why not try standing up every 20 minutes, or doing 10 arm swings, walking round the house, or having a walk round the garden/block.
  • If you start by walking in the house, make sure there isn’t anything you could trip over and remove clutter so there is room to walk, avoid walking on slippery floors or wearing loose fitting/trailing clothing that might trip you up.. Make sure you are wearing well-fitting shoes that are in good condition and support the ankle.
  • If you’re not very active but are able to walk, increase your walking distance gradually, listen to your body and what feels right.
  • Use a walking stick or walker if you need to – they can give you extra confidence and stability or even a chance to rest.

If you don’t feel confident you may want to start by doing some strength and balance exercises, these will help you to get stronger. Take a look at the Living Well Keeping Well at Home booklet that will give you some exercises to try.

Online Exercise Video

What is the guidance for someone that uses a wheelchair?

Keeping active to benefit health is also important for wheelchair users. Wheelchair users can improve cardiovascular health in a number of ways; wheelchair workouts,
sitting exercises, adapted rowing machines or wheelchair sports such as basketball, netball or badminton. The physical activity should make you slightly out of breath but
you should still be able to hold a conversation.

You can find Fitness advice for wheelchair users on the NHS website

Group of Walkers in the Woods

What if I want to build up my walking or walk for exercise?

All you need is good fitting footwear that fastens on and doesn’t slip off and supports your ankle. Trainers work for most people but you should avoid sandals and shoes with heels. You can start by making small changes and try to build more walking into your everyday life – use it as a means of getting somewhere rather than seeing it as exercise.

  • Instead of driving to the shops or a friend’s house why not try walking.
  • Use the stairs where possible instead of a lift or escalator.
  • When driving park at the end of the car park or park further away so you have further to walk
  • Don’t feel like you have to take one long walk, break it up into shorter walks this still benefits your health.
  • Don’t let the fact that you use a walking stick or walker stop you.
  • Go at a pace that is right for you – if you get out of breath but can still hold a conversation then that’s ideal but do what is right for you.
A Couple Laughing Together

What should I be aiming for?

Adults should aim to be physically active every day, even if it’s just light activity and do activities that improve strength, balance and flexibility at least two days a week.

You can find some easy to follow Fitness studio exercise videos on the NHS website

Or do some of the following:

  • Carrying or moving loads such as groceries
  • Gardening jobs like pushing a lawn mower, digging, or collecting grass and leaves
  • Activities that involve stepping and jumping like dancing
  • Chair-based exercises
Two People Walking in The Moors

How can I get started?

Do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity if you are already active, or a combination of both. This can be achieved in small easy amounts of just 20 minutes a day #20MinMove” 

Walking with others helps to keep you motivated and brings social benefits for mental health. You can find information on walking groups in our district here

You can access links to self guided walks and popular walking routes here

We have some great walks available in parks across the district find out more here

The NHS Active 10 app records every minute of walking you do. Just pop your phone in your pocket and away you go! It will also help you see the pace of your walking. It tracks your steps, helps you set goals, shows you your achievements, gives you tips to boost your activity.

Click here if you would like to find some easily accessible countryside sites near you.