Although high intensity workouts are ideal for torching calories, toning muscles and increasing cardiovascular fitness, there's also a whole host of benefits for those who prefer a slower pace.
Between December 20th and January 4th, the Ramblers hold their Festival of Winter Walks, providing hundreds of free group walks to choose from. Walking not only helps to reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol, it also strengthens bones and joints, reducing the chance of osteoporosis.
For those who are sceptical about the effectiveness of walking when it comes to whittling their waists, researchers from the University of Virginia found that women who did three shorter, fast-paced walks a week (plus two longer, moderate-paced ones), lost five times more belly fat than those who simply strolled at a moderate speed five days a week. If your clients want to maximize their results, adding hill climbs and lunges into their daily stroll will tone their legs, bums and mid-section in no time.
Still not convinced? Although heading to the gym immerses you in a like-minded atmosphere, heading into the great outdoors boosts your vitamin D levels, whilst the feel-good endorphins that are released relieve anxiety and stress. Walking with a group or friends may be regarded as a past time for, shall we say, a different generation, but it has some fantastic perks. The British Journal of Sports Medicine found that those who engaged in outdoor walking groups saw significant improvements in blood pressure, resting heart rate, body fat, BMI percentages, and lung function.
Whatever your age or fitness level, walking is a fail-safe way to up your physical activity and improve your fitness for free. Here are our top picks of walks, which are offered by the Ramblers, that you can join over Christmas and New Year.
1. Seafar Woods, Glasgow
When: Saturday, 19th December 2015 at 09.00
How Far: 3.7 miles
Why: Pass through secluded woodland, picturesque villages and the town centre on this leisurely stroll – perfect for those who have an hour or two to spare.
2. Epsom Downs, Kingston
When: Sunday, 20th December 2015 at 09:30
How Far: 11 miles
Why: Take in the London suburbs on this round walk via Headley and Mogador.
3. Isle of Wight
When: Saturday, 26th December 2015 at 09:00
How Far: 7 miles
Why: Brush off the cobwebs with a hearty walk including a picnic lunch. Turkey sandwiches anyone?
4. Chester, North Wales
When: Sunday, 27th December 2015 at 09:00
How Far: 7 miles
WHY? Walk off that Christmas dinner with this hilly ramble
5. South Devon
When: Thursday, 31st December 2015 at 10:30
How Far: 7.5 miles
Why: End 2015 by taking in the beautiful sights of Marldon, Aptor, Berry Pomeroy Castle and Beacon Hill
6. Ratby, Leicester
When: Sunday, 3rd January 2016 at 10:20
How Far: Moderate 10 miles / 16.1 km
Why: Spend a day stomping through the British countryside and enjoy a delicious lunch with the group
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