A beginner’s guide to walking
01 February 2022
The evenings are starting to get lighter, and the days are getting milder; spring is definitely on the way. The world around us will start to come to life again after a cold, dark winter.
Whilst we all have an appreciation for nature, we sometimes forget to step outside. Our daily lives are busy, and this isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Making a conscious effort to step back is really important. Go outside, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy hearing the birds sing and seeing the flowers starting to bloom.
Just like with any other form of exercise, it is important to work within your limits and take sensible steps to prevent injury. We’ve put together a short guide for you on how to make sure you are prepared for your walks.
Our guide to walking
How to make walking more enjoyable
If you’re not usually someone who likes going for walks, here are a few things you can try to make it more enjoyable.
- Change where you walk everyday
- Walk with family or friends
- Join a walking group
- Listen to music, a podcast, or audiobook
Most common hiking mistakes made by beginners
- Take plenty of water with you
- Make sure your phone is fully charged (and invest in a portable charger)
- A packed lunch and/or snacks will provide a much-needed energy boost
- Pack some plasters, bandages, and an emergency blanket in your rucksack
- Take wet wipes
- Wear appropriate footwear
- Bring a spare fleece or hoodie
- Let someone know where you are going hiking before you go.
- Have a traditional map or paper directions just in case
- Don’t rush it – go at your own pace
Choosing the right footwear
If you only buy one piece of kit for walking, we recommend you buy a good pair of walking boots. They provide you with ankle support, which is essential over uneven ground. We buy a lot of our footwear online nowadays, but the best place to buy walking boots is in your local outdoor shop. They’ll be able to check that they fit well and are comfortable.
Make sure you break in your new walking boots before you go out seriously. Blisters will make any walk miserable. Use them for a couple of weeks before your first trip; when the stiffness is gone and you feel comfortable in them, that’s when they’re ready. For more information on choosing the right walking boots for you, click here.
Always be prepared
The weather in the UK can change almost instantaneously, especially if you’re walking or hiking in the mountains or by the coast. Always make sure to take a waterproof and windproof jacket with a hood, sun protection and a cap in the summer, and a hat and gloves in the winter.
A hat is great for protecting your ears in the winter and keeping you warmer. Gloves are important in cold weather, especially if you suffer from circulation problems. This stops you from putting your hands in your pockets, which is better for your posture when you’re walking as your arms are able to swing freely.
Hydration is key
The body needs at least 1 litre of water per 35kg of body weight every day. When you exercise, this should increase. Make sure you have water before you start your walk, and continue drinking throughout it too. As a rule of thumb, for every hour hiking, you should be drinking around ½ litre of water. In hot conditions, this should increase again. Make sure you rehydrate after your walk too.
Layers are a walker’s best friend. Using several thin layers instead of one thick jumper is much better. The warm air gets trapped between the layers, which provides better insulation, but you can also add or remove layers as you get hotter or colder.
As with any activity, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, make sure you ask for your GP’s advice about your suitability to exercise.
Use this guide to help you step outside confidently and find your love of walking.