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Walking is such an ordinary everyday activity, most people take it for granted. Walking is in fact a tool for better health and wellbeing for the body and mind as well as for our environment
Make 2020 the year you walk to feel alive! It can be fun and an adventure looking for places to walk as you discover places you never knew existed.
Generally you are looking for walks that are more or less on the flat.
Do you know somebody in the area who walks and knows the locality? Perhaps they can give you some tips and ideas?
Living in an urban area?
Can you make up an interesting walk around local streets?
What about the local housing estates? Are there interconnecting passages or pathways between them you could use to link them up?
Or is there a park in the area with a network of paths inside where you could make a walk?
Living in a rural area?
Are there quiet local roads and lanes around that could be used?
Think Green and Blue
Is there a public forest nearby with signposted routes where you could walk? Go for walks on a waterway - is there a river or canal in the vicinity where you could include a section along the banks or even walk up one side and back the other?
Do you have a local sports club or GAA pitch in the area which you could walk around? If it is floodlit, could you walk there at night?
Do you have any of the Irish Heart Foundation’s Slí na Slainte routes? Check out Irish Heart Foundation to see if there is one in your area. They are easy to follow and mostly have signs at 1km intervals.
Why not check out Irish Trails to see if any walks are listed near you. Walks on this website have directional signage and are of different lengths, from as short as a few hundred metres up to many kilometres, and varying levels of difficulty, starting with family and buggy friendly on up through Easy and Moderate. Coillte will give you information on walks in the Coillte forests. They also have directional signage and are of different lengths and levels of difficulty.
You could look at indoor venues for days when the weather is very bad, maybe a community hall or a shopping centre.
Bear in mind that you want to stay safe and stay off busy roads and those where traffic travels fast .
Avoid obvious dangers, such as exposed cliffs, tidal beaches, areas that flood, farm animals and working areas such as farms, building sites, etc. If walking at night choose places that have good lighting.
Find a Walking Group
Walking in a group can really help you to get started, stay motivated and enjoy walking. Look for a walking group in your area. You could also keep an eye on your local papers and newsletters or on notice boards in your area for details of any walking groups nearby. Social media sites are also worth checking out.
Read the rest of the Get Walking series - looking at Physical Wellbeing and Mental Wellbeing, Being Active during Covid19. Do you need specific Gear? Look at Warm Up & Posture and Are you doing enough?How to deal with Excuses and setting some very important Goals! Read some Top Tips and think about Setting up a Walking Group and finally some useful sample Walking Programmes you can use.