By Arlene Bowmaker, Nordic Walking Instructor and National Coach, Chartered Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor
The idea of this blog was to share with you some of the things I’ve been doing to ensure I meet daily recommended exercise targets yet stay within the recommended Covid guidelines. Maybe you’ve already thought of these and are already doing, or perhaps you have other ideas you would be happy to share.
Walk with a partner, pal or pet. Just having someone else that you would let down if you didn’t go can be very motivating or maybe you need to be their inspiration and encourage them.
If your friend isn’t local have a walking arrangement. Know that at a certain time you both put your shoes and headphones on and go for a walk. Each walk in our own neighbourhood, socially distanced but connected by chat over the phone.
Walk yourself, use it as your ‘escape’!
Walk the same route over a set number of sessions and time yourself…do you get faster?
Walk the same route at different times of the day. A sunrise walk (and the good news is that isn’t super early these days!) or perhaps a sunset walk.
Walk whatever the weather. Don’t wait until it is ‘perfect’ or you simply won’t go. Puddles are great to discover your inner child again. Do be mindful of icy conditions: avoid early in the morning or in poor light, stick to main routes that are more likely to be gritted or get into a park on grass if possible.
Mix it up – explore the streets in your neighbourhood. Some might be new thanks to recent development, or some just new to you!
Check out your neighbourhood. Ok this is bit of a confession. I look at fences (we need new ones and I was getting ideas), also gardens, the types of pots and plants. And to those of you who put your lights on and don’t pull your curtains, it is great to get decorating ideas from your lit up rooms as I pass by!
Record your daily walk perhaps in a diary, using an app like Strava, taking photos of where you have been or collecting something en route (if I’ve been at the foreshore I’m bound to have collected at least one pebble!)
Prepare for your walk with some research on local history, local landmarks. I’ve taken the opportunity to find out more about the history of Bo’ness then walked to discover them. Some familiar, some off the beaten track…Witches Stone anyone?
Another way to mix it up is vary your pace. Maybe a short, fast walk when time is precious or a long, leisurely one if you have time to spare. Believe me 30mins of up/down hills in Bo’ness is tough!
Pack a picnic in your rucksack (flask of soup or hot chocolate on these cold winter days) walk and then sit somewhere local and just enjoy scenery that you probably see every day but don’t take time to appreciate.
Use an app like World Walking which lets you choose a route and walk it virtually. It gives you milestones and lets you know of landmarks you’ve passes on your way. In the first lockdown we explored the castles of Scotland on foot…the only one I physically visited in that time was Blackness.
Take a sensory walk. Instead of being plugged in and tuned out use your senses, listen, look and smell. Warning: you won’t want to ‘smell’ if your route takes you on the John Muir way past the sewage works in Bo’ness!
Ask yourself does all of your work have to be done indoors or do you just need to reframe how and where you do it? Can you make work calls whilst out walking, or perhaps listen to podcasts, webinars, use the record function on phone to dictate notes to yourself.
Apply this to home schooling too for those of you who are having the additional stress of fitting that into a daily schedule. On one of my walks I watched a mum out with kids who had chalk with them and they stopped to do a sum/write a word on the pavement. What a fantastic idea. Whilst you are outside consider geography, history, PE as subjects easily covered! Your topics might not be on the curriculum but it’s all learning, right?
This was going to be a list of 5 but once I got started and really thought about what I have been doing I realised I have been more inventive than I was giving myself credit for. I have certainly have re-framed my lockdown limitations to liberations and hope you can too. Watch out for our WalkFitWellness photos of local walks putting some of the above ideas into practise (beware if you have your light on and curtains open…you might feature as decorating inspiration!)