Walking is one of the simplest forms exercise and probably the easiest to incorporate into your everyday life.
You don’t need special equipment, just a comfortable pair of shoes. Walk to the shops or walk the grandchildren to school and you’ll be getting fitter and greener at the same time.
For the majority of people, 30 minutes of walking is about 3,000 steps. A pedometer or step counter is a great way to motivate yourself to increase your walking. These can be bought very cheaply from most sports shops.
Most towns across Northern Ireland have walking routes. These are short signed walking routes mainly located within urban areas.
If you want to get out and about in the countryside, check out the eight routes known as ‘waymarked ways’:
- Carleton Trail
- Sliabh Beagh Way
- Ring of Gullion
- Newry Canal Way
- Moyle Way
- Lecale Way
- Causeway Coast Way
- Central Sperrins Way
These walks take in some of the most attractive scenery Northern Ireland has to offer, as well as fascinating historical and natural features. The routes are well signposted and leaflets showing the routes and describing features of interest along the way are available from your local tourist information office. You can also order the leaflets from the website www.waymarkedways.com where you will find more information about the routes and details of any special walking events being organised.
Many local councils provide details on walking opportunities and maps of walks within the local area. It is worth contacting your local council’s Countryside and Recreation Officer for further information.
Walking for Health… find the group for you
Walking in a group is a great way to start walking, make new friends and stay motivated. Walking for Health group walks are aimed at people who do little or no physical activity but would like to become more active.
These groups are led by trained volunteers and are available throughout Northern Ireland. If you are interested in finding out about walking groups in your area or would like to become a trained walk leader then contact:
South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust
Tel: 028 9268 0852 or 9250 1373
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Tel: (028) 95 046580
Western Health and Social Care Trust
Tel: (028) 7186 5127
Southern Health and Social Care Trust
Tel: (028) 3831 1525
Northern Health and Social Care Trust
Tel: (028) 2563 5575