The Wonders of Walking

Recently, I’ve been on a quest to lose the excess weight I gained in the months after having my daughter. A lot of the weight gain was due to me eating vast amounts of sugary food to help me cope with the sleepless nights and general stress of being a new mum. Prior to having my daughter I stayed fit and healthy by doing lots of exercise including walking. I’ve always enjoyed walking and find that it helps to clear my head if I felt stressed.

I did very little exercise after giving birth and decided it was time for me to get my walking shoes back on. I bought a pedometer and for the past week have made a conscious effort to walk the recommended 10,000 steps every day. I often leave the house as soon as my little one has a nap so that she can sleep in the pram. She sometimes gets a little grouchy if she is in the pram for too long so it’s easier if she spends most of the walk fast asleep.

Yesterday, my husband completed a 10k run in our local Heaton Park as part of a running challenge called MyMarathon to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. This is a significant charity for us as our daughter was born with a hole in her heart. She has had heart surgery and has made a fantastic recovery. My husband has taken this challenge one step further and has decided to run six 10k runs in six different parks in Manchester and write a blog about his runs and the history of the parks. To assist him with this blog I have been acting as his official photographer!

Going to Heaton Park is one of our favourite places to spend a family day as there is so much to offer. Heaton Park has a boating lake, a tram, stables, an animal farm, bee hives, a transport museum, observatory and stately home. As I walked around taking photographs on what was a gloriously sunny day, I walked a whopping 21,430 steps! As well as the physical benefits of doing so much exercise, I found walking through the park so relaxing. Heaton Park is situated in North Manchester but as you walk around, it feels as though you could be in the middle of the countryside. It’s such a peaceful place to walk around and I think being around nature and wildlife has such a calming effect and most definitely improves your well-being. As a hypnotherapist I help people to overcome stress and anxiety but as well as therapy sessions, I recommend a dose of exercise and nature to achieve a healthy body and healthy mind!

Do you manage to walk the recommended 10,000 steps a day? I would definitely recommend getting a pedometer to keep track on how much you are walking each day. 2000 steps is approximately one mile. Walking five miles a day may seem a bit much but you’ll be surprised at how many steps you can accrue by walking to the shops or getting off the bus a stop earlier. There are different types of pedometers, some simply count your steps whereas others will calculate distance walked and calories burned, based on information regarding your height, weight and average stride length.  One thing I suggest is clipping the pedometer onto your house keys.  There’s nothing worse than heading out for a long walk and leaving your pedometer behind!

Comfortable shoes are a must. In my younger days I used to walk for miles in cheap ballet pumps and kitten heels, which caused a little damage to my feet. If I’m going for a long walk I usually wear a pair of comfortable trainers or walking shoes such as Karrimors. My feet feel nice and cushioned and they definitely make walking 10,000 steps much easier.

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