Walking can be a full cardio and wellbeing experience – ABC Local

Posted: October 16, 2019 at 4:57 pm

"Living in the city or being in an office, you don't get to see that beauty of nature," says Amanda Kidd, who took up hiking during a turbulent time in her life.

"It's just magical you just see things in a different perspective.

* Guide only. Actual kJ/hr will depend on many factors, including age, muscle mass, and effort.

"I had a breakup and my whole world sort of turned upside down so, it was like nature therapy for me, being out in the wilderness.

"I got quite into it, in terms of going out on my own and just finding trails and walking through them."

Walking (and hiking) can be taken up by people of all age groups and fitness levels.

It's free and if you keep up a good pace, it's great exercise.

It also provides you with an opportunity to get to know your neighbourhood, local parks, bushland or mountains like no other sportsperson.

Even a walk around suburban streets can become more of a workout if you incorporate hills or stairs.

But for Amanda, there was nothing like the lure of an outdoor hike. After a few years, she took it to the next level and conquered Tasmania's nine-day South Coast Track.

"[I] didn't know what I was signing myself up for," she says.

"It was my first experience of having to carry a full pack and just being out without civilisation."

Despite the challenges, hiking has provided Amanda with a new-found sense of wellbeing and empowerment.

"Being on top of a mountain, you feel like you're on top of the world and you've conquered it," she says.

"It just brings you back to reality and what's important in life."

A walk in nature can clear your head, bring you in touch with nature, and even improve your relationship with your partner, writes Rebecca Huntley.

Walking has also given Amanda the opportunity to develop her strength and cardio while doing something she loves.

"It's a real all-over-body workout." she says.

"Physically, I'm stronger, mentally I'm stronger just from exercising regularly and [being] out in nature."

For those who are struggling to take the first step, Amanda's advice is to simply put on your walking shoes and take on a small trail with a friend.

"You don't need much, just give it a go. Find some easy trails [and] work your way up to it," she says.

"If you've organised to go with someone, you've got to turn up. That's a good way of getting yourself out there."

Whether you're just starting to explore walks around you, or want to take your hikes to the next level, here's how to make them enjoyable and safe.

You can walk anywhere, anytime, solo or in a group, on the flat or over hills and even indoors, on a treadmill, if you need to.

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We thank Dr Tracy Kolbe-Alexander, of the School of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Southern Queensland, and Nardine Presland of Exercise and Sports Science Australia, for their expert input.

This is general information only. For detailed personal advice, you should see a qualified medical practitioner who knows your medical history.

This story, which was originally written by Maryke Steffens and published by ABC Health and Wellbeing, was updated in 2019.

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Walking can be a full cardio and wellbeing experience - ABC Local

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