Personally, I subscribe to the theory that there’s three basic types of walking. You have your leisure walk, your power walk and your hill walk.
To get the most out of walking as your chosen exercise, I think you should try and have a balance of all three – vary things and avoid the same old routine. If you’re used to walking at the same speed and over the same route all the time, then a change really is better than a rest.
Defined as the act of walking with a speed at the upper end of the natural range for the walking gait, this is a great way to work up a sweat if you want to improve your fitness. As a rule of thumb for your workout to be effective you should feel out of breath for up to 50% of the duration.
There are plenty of hills around West Cork to get you working harder and achieving your goals. Start with a 2-3km hill route and away you go. Look for crossroads to make it a 4-5km hill walk. You needn’t attack it with the intensity of a power walk, but I guarantee you it will work you just as hard. There are a number of hill walking groups throughout West Cork that hold regular, guided walks and joining one of these is a great way to keep motivated while sharing the experience and the surroundings with like-minded people.
A great way to clear your head and an ideal way to introduce your children to the concept of walking as exercise.
Any one of the local parks or woods are ideal. Bring some healthy treats and maybe a nature book or some binoculars to make it really fun and interesting for the kids.
Again you could look to join a walking club if there’s one in your area or why not consider starting a group yourself?
From an exercise point of view you should try to walk for 20-30 mins each day. This will improve your overall wellbeing.
If you’re walking for fitness reasons then you should try to walk two to three km on alternate days and let it grow from there.
Keep track of your progress and aim to increase the distance you cover every couple of weeks.
There are many options both at home and abroad, with the Camino de Santiago in Spain probably the most famous one of all. The Camino incorporates all of the pilgrimage routes in northwestern Spain and you can chose to do whatever sections you please.
Many people go back over a number of years, doing a different section each time. There are many other walking holidays on offer which have organised guided routes that take you up mountains and through National parks – fantastic scenery being the name of the game. Locally there are all sorts of charity walking events throughout the year that you can take part in. Keep fit and raise money for good causes – win win!
One such event is the hugely popular Glow Run in Skibbereen, which is on this Friday, February 12th.
This is the biggest and brightest night in Skibbereen with over 1000 men, women and children taking part. 100% of the money raised is going to charity.
Paudie O’Donovan is a qualified neuromuscular physical
therapist specialising in pain relief and improvement of
mobility/flexibility. He is masseur to the Cork senior
football team and runs a sports injury clinic at
Quarryvale, Coolnagrane, Skibbereen.
(Fully registered with Laya and Aviva)
Contact: 086-2339618 or follow him on Facebook.