While Halton Borough Council’s health walks are on hold during the corona virus pandemic, we can still get out for a walk (unless shielding) to clear our heads and get some exercise.

We are being urged to #Try20 for National Walking Month – Walk for 20 minutes every day as part of your daily exercise and see what benefits you experience.

Why not use the hashtag for ideas and posting yours to social media?

Many people have embraced walking for our one-hour daily exercise out of the house over recent weeks, with gyms and leisure facilities closed it’s a great choice of exercise.

As of this week we are allowed to exercise out of the house as many times as we like, including travel to parks or open spaces, as long as we follow government guidelines and social distance advise.

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Sport, Cllr Phil Harris, said: “Walking is a fantastic way to keep active and maintain health.

“It’s free, flexible, it’s open to all levels of fitness and you don’t need any expensive equipment to do it. “

Sports Development Officer Paula Parle, said: “A 20-minute walk has been shown to reduce the risk of a number of preventable health conditions including heart disease, depression, certain cancers, sleep problems and type 2 diabetes.

“Walking is also great if you are trying to lose weight; a brisk 30-minute walk could burn 150 calories.”

If you need some motivation to get started or keep going why not set yourself a goal or use a walking app to track and record your routes.

Living Streets has #try20 for tips to keep you motivated https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-with-us/national-walking-month-2020

Walking is an ideal form of exercise for people with health conditions, as you can walk at your own pace and distance and at a time that suits you.

The Walking for Health organisation has a section on its webpage with guidance for walking with certain health conditions: https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/get-walking/walking-health-conditions, and a competition/step challenge #RoamSweetHome to help keep you motivated. Steps can be taken anywhere, even in and around the home.

Send your pictures to our walking for health Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Walking-for-Health-Halton-482818178431169/

Could you clock up enough steps to climb Ben Nevis? https://www.ramblers.org.uk/Go-walking/Roam-Sweet-Home/steps-challenge/

Did you know a walk around Victoria Park in Widnes is around 1-mile and a route around Runcorn Hill is around 1.5 miles? Find local walking routes on:
Take care of yourself and others when walking:
• Keep a social distance
• Avoid areas that may get busy
• Pick-up rubbish, close gates and keep dogs under control
• Avoid risky areas as our emergency services are already over-stretched
• Wash your hands
• Smile and say hello to our neighbours and fellow walkers

If you are self-isolating and not able to walk around your home or garden, check our webpage for ideas to stay active including chair-based exercise: https://activehalton.co.uk/staying-active-at-home-during-covid-19/ or contact Paula Parle on 0151 511 8550

Social Media topics each day:
• Increase your Vitamin D for healthy bones and immune system: Lots of us are deficient in Vitamin D, get your daily dose from the sunshine on your walk
• Walking prevents the brain from shrinking! Lowering the risk of dementia
• Walking makes you feel happy! A brisk walk is just as beneficial as taking an antidepressant if you are suffering with stress, anxiety or depression.
• Mindfulness – Give yourself chance to take a mental break, time for yourself to breath, take in the smells, sounds and sights of nature, even if it is just flowers in a garden or hanging basket in the neighbourhood.
• Re-connect with nature, try a woodland walk, visit a local park, canal path or nature reserve

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