Iâ€™m a big believer that exercise should be an integral part of our lives, not an extra stress, so walking is the perfect way to incorporate being active into our daily life.
Whether itâ€™s walking on the school run, walking to the shops, or going for a walkâ€¦ I can guarantee you that you will feel better for it.
I love walking where I live in Wakefield because walking is for everyone and I want to share with you why I walk, some of the tips Iâ€™ve learned to get walking and moving even when I donâ€™t feel like it.
Why I walk everywhere + where to go walking
Why I walk everywhere:
Walking is a functional part of my daily life which helps me to get from A to B. Not only is it great for my physical and mental health but it also saves me money on transport and saves some pollution too (if I were to drive instead).
I have a driverâ€™s license but I currently donâ€™t have a car and I enjoy the freedom that this has allowed me. Donâ€™t get me wrong, it can be frustrating trying to get to certain places but I like having to walk to a lot of places as well as forcing the kids to walk too.
I know that even when I donâ€™t feel like a walk, that I will feel so much better after it. And it gives me chance to think and be mindful too.
I also find that I meet more people and make more friends by walking to places rather than being in a car. Then if I am going longer distances I take a bus, train or for a treat a taxi.
Itâ€™s nice to just think about the route and experience of walking rather than having to tackle traffic queues, finding a parking space or filling up the car with petrol.
I like the freedom that walking gives me as a way of traveling (within reason). I am not totally an outdoorsy person either as I enjoy walking so I can make phone calls for work or chat to friends. I also use it as a time to think about my work, listen to podcasts (I love learning!) and itâ€™s a chance to think about what I am going to write about or what film I want to make next.
Walking gives me space to think, a reason to be active, and is a way of getting where I want in life literally and metaphorically.
Top tips to get walking:
So how to get walking? It has not always come naturally to me as I had a car for many years and I loved the comfort that that brought me. I have, however, replaced the car with different modes of transport these days and I have begun to love walking (and I am even thinking about buying a bike!).
Here are my top tips to get you walking:
- Wear the right shoes! Now I am not always in trainers to walk whilst I know trainers and walking shoes are ideal for going on walksâ€¦ but I do love ballet pumps with a fastening over my foot so my feet donâ€™t slip out. If I am going on an actual walk though I do wear sensible footwear. But I like to be real about things and I would prefer you walk in ballet pumps than not walk at all!
- Get a good coat/jacket/umbrella/clothes: Having a range of clothes for different weather really helps as well as a rucksack to carry on your back. I love it that these days you can buy attractive-looking rucksacks so you donâ€™t necessarily have to be in full-on sportswear (that said I love nothing better than being in a nice gym kit, with trainers and a backpack with my headphones on).
- Start with a buddy: At first, walking can feel daunting if youâ€™re not used to it, so arranging to go out on a walk with a friend can really help boost your confidence as well as having someone to be accountable to.
- â€œAnything is better than nothingâ€: Any exercise is better than no exercise. So start small by changing one habit at a time. E.g. Just do the school run on foot. Or Park the car a bit further away, or take the stairs. There are lots that you can do just to start off small by changing habits one at a time.
- Download the Aspire Health App where you can track your walks and feel a sense of achievement at how far you have walked. Over time you can even build-up to the 10,000 steps a day challenge.
Wherever you are in the world, thereâ€™ll be lots of walking routes you can take from guided walks to exploring by yourself and adventure trails.
Here are my favourite walks in my home city of Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Where to walk in Wakefield
There are so many walks to complete where I live in Wakefield. I like to do most walks as a family (so itâ€™s my two daughters and me, and sometimes the grandparents!) or sometimes I do long walks with friends.
- Anglerâ€™s Country Park is brilliant and has Room on the Broom story trail as well as stunning scenery and a nice cafe.
- Sandal Castle and Pugneyâ€™s Country Park: You can park for free at Sandal Castle and walk down to Pugneyâ€™s Country Park (or vice versa, although you have to pay for parking at Pugneyâ€™s). Sandal Castle ruins has stunning views of Pugneyâ€™s and the rest of Wakefield as well as a cafe. Thereâ€™s also plenty of picnic spots down at Pugneyâ€™s with a lake and water sports, a childrenâ€™s play area, and an outdoor gym.
- Canal Walks: I have also started enjoying canal walks and I find them a great way to quickly escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. I tend to just walk by the canal next to Doncaster road and follow that along. There are parts that are well kept and other parts that are not, so just be vigilant of any rubbish along the path but most of it is wildflowers and barges.
- Yorkshire Sculpture Park: You can drive or catch a bus from Wakefield Bus Station to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in West Bretton. Itâ€™s a lovely day out especially when the weather is good. There are lots of places to buy food and drink as well as a plethora of places to have a picnic.
- Retail therapy: As I said, I am not totally an outdoorsy type of person and I LOVE shopping! So I tend to walk into Wakefield city centre and enjoy walking and shopping through The Ridings Shopping Centre and on to Trinity Walk. I often get the bus home however from Wakefield Bus Station if I have bought too much. There is also a fabulous walking trail throughout the city centre called the Louisa Fennell Walking trail and itâ€™s a great way to find out about the Wakefield artist and experience the city centre past and present.
- Artwalk: Now I wouldnâ€™t even say I am that â€˜intoâ€™ art but I love going on the Artwalk which happens every other month on a Wednesday evening. Venues open up to showcase a range of art from film to neon signs to visual arts and performing artsâ€¦ Itâ€™s a great way to get walking and experience some culture too.
So however and wherever you want to get out and start walkingâ€¦ just do it and I promise you wonâ€™t regret it.