Get Inspired: How to get into Walking

Fast Answers

Why get into walking?

It's the easiest way to add some physical activity to your day.

Who is it for?

Regardless of your fitness level or age, walking is one activity that can be enjoyed by pretty much everyone.

Is there a cheap option?

It's free! Go during your lunch break; get off of the bus a stop earlier and walk a bit; use stairs instead of lifts!

What if I want a proper workout?

There are walking trails all over the UK that vary in difficulty. Try a path with an incline or ramp up the pace.

Can I take it to another level?

If you want a really testing challenge, Nordic Walking or Race Walking might be your cup of tea.

Is there a disability option?

More and more walking trails are developed with accessibility in mind. Do some research beforehand.

Is there a family option?

Group walks are great for the soul - rid yourself of any anxieties while having a good old chat along the way!

Most of us walk a little bit every day, but most of us would benefit from walking more. Whether it's for leisure, to work up a sweat or in competition, you can find a type of walking that suits your ability and fits into your schedule. Along with the physical benefits, walking can be done in an organised group or with friends making it the perfect social activity. Walking with others is a great way to meet new people and keep motivated. For more information about the benefits of walking and how to get started take a look at the helpful NHS walking guide.  To find local walking schemes or to start one of your own, visit Walking for Health. 

Urban walking

Man walking

Ditch the car and walk - it's that simple! Beyond that, most areas of the UK have footpaths and local parks which make walking safe and easy. If you'd like to explore walks in your area Walk4Life  is the perfect place to start: it lists over 80,000 routes and you can keep a record of how much walking you do and even input your own walks. Just type in your postcode or a place name. There are also various free or cheap apps online or for smartphones that will track your distance and speed if you want to test your progress.

Walking groups

Walking in a group

Don't want to walk alone? Joining a walking group is not only social, it can also help motivate you to keep going. Use the power of people to keep you on the road to fitness while enjoying a gossip (and lungs full of fresh air). In Northern Ireland, take a look at Walking in your Community,  in Scotland Paths for All  can help, in Wales look at Let's Walk  and in England Walking for Health  will have a local group for you.

Rambling and hiking

Walking

If you enjoy the great outdoors, there is no better way of experiencing the countryside than at your own pace through hiking or rambling. There are routes all over the UK that differ depending on your fitness level. The UK Ramblers  can provide you with insightful information on routes around the country, as well as giving you helpful tips on making the most from your nature walk. If you are in England or Wales and fancy a top quality walking experience take a look one of the 15 National Trails  - these are the top routes passing through stunning landscapes. In Northern Ireland, browse the Walk NI  website for top walking destinations and events. See Ramblers Scotland  pages for trails in Scotland.

Nordic

Nordic walkers

Nordic Walking can be seen as taking your nature walk to the next level, using poles to work the upper body and push the legs a little harder than they would be otherwise. Obviously, as the name suggests, it's inspired by and most popular in Scandinavian countries - but there are a healthy number of enthusiasts across the UK. So, if you are interested in a strenuous workout, British Nordic Walking  is a great place to start to find tuition and instructors near you.

Race walking

competitors race walking on a city road

If you would like to find out about taking walking to competition level, you should visit the Race Walk UK site  to find a club near you. You can also read the current rules of Race Walking  . But... in short, it's a progression of steps where the feet make contact with the ground constantly. At least one foot must always be on the ground at any time. In running, the feet move at a much faster pace and feet are allowed to both be off the ground at the same time.

Start your own walking group

Walking group

Can't find a walking group in your area? Fear not. Start your own walking revolution! Wherever you are in the UK, there are schemes to help you help your community get walking. Boost morale and motivate people to get active while keeping fit and mentally healthy yourself. Contact your walking organisation in Scotland,  Wales,  Northern Ireland  and England  to find out more. They'll be queuing up to join you.

What's next?

1. Go to our Activity Finder to get into walking near you.

2. Or find your nearest walking group through Walk4Life  .

3. Share your story  and inspire others.

Are you inspired to try walking? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the activity by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired,  visiting us on Facebook  or email us on getinspired@bbc.co.uk.

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.