Want to walk more?

Health guidance suggests that you aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, in bits of 10 min or more so that you get your heart rate up.  There are lots of ways to get there, though—no need to trek across Southampton for 2 ½ hours unless you want to!

For the first week, you don’t need to do extra walking. Just write down each day how much walking you do to keep track of an ‘average’ week. Many people, even people who have very busy lives, are only doing about 3,000 steps a day. 

If you already know how many steps you did in your first week, it’s time to find ways to add steps.

At the beginning of each week, plan how you can add more steps than you did last week! You’re more likely to achieve your goal if you choose how and when you can walk more.

Have a think about what times of day will work best for you – early in the morning without distractions?

Middle of the day once kids are at school and parks are quieter? Evenings as a way to de-stress?

Will you dedicate time to walk - either by yourself or with family and friends, or will you fit more walking into the day? Below are some ideas, but figure out what works for you.

Want to get to 150 minutes? You could do it by:

  • A 30 minute walk to work and back 3 days a week.
  • Walking your kids to school and back every day (if that’s less than 150 minutes, add in an adventure walk for 30 minutes on a weekend)  -- Children are recommended to get an hour’s physical activity every day.
  • A 10 minute walk round the neighbourhood after your dinner every night plus walking to the local shops twice during the week, 20 minutes each way.
  • Instead of meeting friends for a coffee or at the pub, go for an hour’s walk to catch up with them instead.  Add to that going on a 20 minute walk every day on your lunch break by yourself or with work colleagues.
  • Go for a walk every evening for 20 minutes after dinner as a way to talk to your children, catch up with your partner or just relax.  On the weekend, go for two 30 minute walks during the day instead.
  • Attend one of our health walks on the Common, where they usually walk for an hour. Walk there and back 20 minutes each way, and pop to the shops once during the week, 20 minutes each way.

How else can you make sure that you meet your goal of walking more?

Plan ahead! Think of ways to increase your steps during the week. Set aside 10 min to make a plan on Sunday evening.  If you think you'll struggle unless you have it scheduled in, why not attend one of our many group health walks?  See the section titled Walk Opportunities for days and locations.

Write it down and make it specific. Don’t just say “Go for a short walk 3 times this week”, but say “Walk for 10 minutes after lunch Wednesday, Thursday and Friday”. Find a way to fit it into your existing routine.

Set a goal that you will achieve. Use our chart to keep it easy, or use a calendar. A good long-term goal is 10,000 steps a day—a great way to have an active life, but start with an easier-to-reach goal first.  Make sure you find out how much walking you're doing already, and then you can build it up from there.  If you have a smartphone, there are plenty of apps that will count your steps for free--look for ones that don't need GPS if you need to conserve your battery.

Tell a friend or family member. Studies show that you’re more likely to stick to something if you promise someone you care about that you’ll do it.  Even better is to tell them why—is it to enjoy more time with them? Is it to be in better health for your grandkids? Is it to keep pace with your dog? Is it to make it up a nearby hill without getting out of breath?

See our tips for suggestions on how to start walking more, whether it's setting aside time in your week for dedicated walking time, or fitting into your day-to-day.