A walk in the countryside is a simple and effective way to improve your health and fitness in 2020, with the added benefit of being completely free!  A stroll in the hills or woods has no expensive gym membership costs or ongoing fees; you can just put on your boots and see where your feet take you.

How Much Exercise?

The NHS recommends most adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That sounds like an awful lot when you first hear the number, but just one decent hike could easily help you to hit the mark. Once you make a couple of other changes like walking instead of taking the lift and walking to the shops instead of driving, it’s easy to improve your health.

The Health Benefits of Walking

Various studies have found evidence that walking regularly helps fight high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and heart disease. The Ramblers Association Walking Works report found that almost 300,000 cases of diabetes could be prevented each year in the UK by increased walking, along with thousands of cases of cancer and other conditions.

There are also benefits for mental health including reducing stress, improving your mood and boosting self-esteem. The Ramblers report found that people who are active have a 30% less chance of becoming depressed. Walking can even help reduce your risk of developing dementia!

Walking in the Countryside

Regular walking can take place anywhere but the countryside is full of natural wonder to explore.  A stroll in the fresh air can reduce the presence of negative thoughts and open up opportunities to connect with the landscape and the wildlife within it.

There’s an extensive network of public footpaths across the country. It’s surprising just how many different routes you can plan out once you take that first step and open up a map. We’re lucky to have 15 National Parks and 46 designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK. Even in the most urban of areas however, there are some stunning hidden gems to explore.

The Thames Path National Trail winds through beautiful countryside but also snakes through the heart of London. Other National Trails and long-distance routes criss-cross the country, offering plenty of choice for well-maintained tracks and paths.

New Year Health

If you’ve finally finished all of those Christmas mince pies, it’s time to start afresh for 2019. Healthier eating is certainly one way to improve your wellbeing but regular walking is such a simple and beneficial addition to your routine that it’s a no-brainer.

Ready to explore more?

If you need a little additional help to explore the countryside in 2019, take a look at our navigation courses in the Forest of Dean, Wye Valley and Brecon Beacons.