The purest form of staying fit and healthy is to walk more. In today’s society technology has resulted in many jobs being done with less effort than in previous years. Yet when people did things with more effort the benefit was that the heart was being regularly exercised. Simple tasks like reading the paper over the years has been become less healthy. The traditional way to do this was to walk to the paper shop buy the paper and then walk back home. In time this has been modified by either driving to the paper shop, or even having the paper delivered. Today the news can even be delivered on line, so the purchaser doesn’t even have to leave his computer’s side to be kept up to date on the news.
The sedentary nature of the modern day has meant that many people are now trying to walk more. One popular method has been to wear a pedometer which counts and records the number of steps a person will take over a given time. People now will set themselves a target of how many steps they need to walk each day in order to reach their goal. The common target is 10,000 steps, which is roughly the equivalent of 8 miles, and people are doing this by wearing a pedometer clipped to their waste band, or even by using their mobile phones to record their steps.
Walking clubs have always been popular and many people have joined them for the exercise, and also the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the countryside. Walking clubs attracts a wide range of ages as there are no time limits to complete the routes. Health associations claim that walking for periods of between thirty and sixty minutes a day for 5 days a week has health benefits. There was a time when famous shoe manufacturers tried to convince everyone that in order to prevent injuries the proper foot wear needed to be worn. In time it has been found that the posture and walking style are far more important in injury prevention.
The creation of walking and rambling clubs have given the people to do their exercise in a social setting on routes that have been pre-planned for them. The Ramblers Association in the United Kingdom has 123,000 members and has been in operation since 1931. There are 550 different groups in 50 areas and they regularly organize walks of varying degrees of distance and difficulty levels. The distances tend to range from 6km for the novices right up to 24km for the more experienced ramblers.
Over time the association has successfully opened routes on previous private land so that the great outdoors can now be enjoyed by everyone and not just by the privileged few. In the early years rambling was associated with the retired middle classes but now the group has a far broader membership as walking has become a more popular leisure activity. There are many events organized on an annual basis that encourage people to walk. One of the most famous is the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The event has been in operation since 1909 has provides routes of 30km 40km and 50km each day for the walkers to complete. This started as a military event but nowadays of the 40,000 entrants only 5,000 are military personnel.
The Beachy Head Marathon is an annual race run each October in Eastbourne, in the UK. It is regarded as one of the toughest courses in the UK due its regular changes in gradient. Walkers are encouraged to complete the route and enjoy the splendid scenery offered by the Seven Sisters National Park, as they are given an earlier set off time before the beginning of the main race. Walking is the oldest and most basic form of exercise yet its popularity is as great as ever as people try to enjoy the health benefits it provides.