Recreational walking is a great way to get fit and to perhaps shed those few pounds that are hanging around! Physical activity in general has also be proven to help in controlling the stress's and strains of daily life. (see www.getirelandactive.ie )
If you are not already an active walker, here are some simple tips to help you get started.
- Get checked out. If you are over weight, experience chest pains or feel that you are afraid to exercise, you should make an appointment with your GP before you take part in Physical Activity. They will be able to steer you in the right direction about your next move.
- Get a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Stay away from heels, platforms and wellies! Good shoes will become your best friend. Most good sports shops will recceomend suitable footwear for walking.
- Get a walking friend. Walking in company can be a very pleasant experience. Try and get someone about your own fitness and eperience. This will help you keep each other motivated.
- Pick a route. Make sure that your route is safe to walk on and that it is also interesting.
- Start slowly. In the begining, do not bite of more than you can chew! A good idea is to walk for a given time. Depending on your fitness etc, you may opt for 20 to 30 mins for the first few weeks and increase by 5 or 10 mins as you feel capable. Soon you will start finding your rythmn, and you can introduce the distance into the walk also. A game that you could play is to try and increase the distance but decrease the time. Try and do a better workout than the lst time you were out.
- Be Safe. Dont forget to wear a hi viz jacket if you are out on a main road. It is also a good idea to let someone know where you are going and at what time you are due back. Also consider bringing a mobile phone.
Once you get used to walking recreationally and the fitness levels improve, there are a number of other options open to you to continue.
- Join a club. There are now several walking clubs and groups in county Clare and they are always looking for new members. email us here or call us to get a contact for the club nearest you.
- We are very lucky in Clare to have a number of marked walks throughout the county. They are well signposted and they all have maps associated with them. See www.shannonregiontrails.ie for a full listing.
- We also have a number of Sli na Slainte routes that are supported by Clare County Council. Click here for route maps.