Walking is simple, right? Put one foot in front of the other. Everything you need on your back. Walk, listen, and watch the world go by.
Yep, but that said, being able to consistently cover long distances over undulating terrain can be a little more challenging. Experience will ultimately be your best teacher. In the meantime, you might want to consider the following handy hints and tips when you are out walking:
Aim to finish the day walking at the same speed at which you started. It’s not a race. Think rhythm and flow. Tortoise rather than hare.
Shorter strides, longer strides, up on your toes, back on your heels. Mix it up. Whatever it takes to reduce muscle tension. Think about it – if you are using the same muscles in exactly the same way hour after hour, day after day there are bound to be repercussions.
3. Stretch and bend
Help keep your muscles supple by doing some light stretching during breaks. In addition, try to do 10-15 minutes at the end of each day. Think of it as an investment in your physical health.
4. Take five
Keep your breaks short and regular rather than long and occasional. This allows less time for the muscles to stiffen up, thus making it easier to get going again. This especially holds true for those chronologically challenged amongst us. If you are taking a longer break, particularly on a cold and windy day, consider putting on some warmer clothes so as not to catch a chill.
Find a rhythm between your breathing and stride. This is most applicable to long gradual uphills on relatively even terrain, where you don’t have to worry too much about foot placement.
Focus on positive thoughts, rather than how tired / exhausted you feel. Repeat a mantra or positive expression to yourself over and over. It really does help. Promise.
To decrease the gradient on very steep ascents, consider zigzagging rather than going straight up.
Gravity sucks. Don’t lean forward. Don’t lean back. Your centre of gravity should be low and over your legs. Keep it there.
Pay attention to where you are putting your feet. Slips are more likely to occur on a downhill stretches that immediately follows a long ascent – after the exertion of the climb, the tendency is “let it all hang out” on the descent, which can subsequently lead to mistakes.
This is one activity that is wonderful for both body and mind. Exercise and fresh air is obviously good for the body, but walking is a great way to get out of your head and reduce any mental chatter. When immersed in the sights, smells and sounds of nature, any worries, rumination or negative thinking fades into the background as your mind will be occupied with your sensory experience.
Simples, right? Want to put this into practise? Then check out our range of walking holidays…