Health and fitness posts have been fairly few and far between so far on here, which is surprising considering it’s one of my favourite topics to write about. Not that I have any authority on the subject of course, but I like to ramble anyway! So… I thought a new blog series centred around unconventional and different ways of keeping fit – from the perspective of a teenage girl – could be fun. We’ve all seen many an expert-written piece providing bountiful information, statistics and recommendations, which is exactly why I’ll be writing from a more ‘regular’ point of view. Gotta keep it real sometimes! My personal interest in health and fitness has developed over the last few years: I’ve done my research, tried new things, and like to think I’ve picked up a tip or two along the way. I plan to try my hand at all manner of unconventional and exciting activities to share my verdict on here, likely laughing at myself so feel free to laugh at me too. Fitness shouldn’t just revolve around the gym, so expect the unexpected! Sharing is caring, so of course anything I learn along the way shall be shared with you. I might also write some more general, chatty posts about keeping healthy in a young lifestyle. If you’d like to hear anything in particular, do let me know!
There’s no denying that cost can be a real issue with getting fit these days. I’m all about trying new activities and facilities but the expenses associated with these are often incompatible with us students and our budgets. With that in mind, before launching into posts about more adventurous activities, I thought it best to kick off this series with something slightly more low-key.
Wainwright said ‘Walkers who walk for the sake of walking are still, by many people, regarded as crackpots’. Call me a crackpot if you want, (you wouldn’t be the first 😉 ) but this most simple of activities is actually one of my favourite forms of exercise. Not whilst it’s raining, I must say, but cold or wind won’t put me off.
Fitness should be attainable for everyone; there’s no need to look too far afield, providing you’re happy to explore on foot. With Autumn speedily approaching, I wanted a fitness activity that could make the most of these last few weeks of half-decent weather, preferably for low to zero cost.
Fell-walking is something I’ve done with family since I was tiny, so armed with a few walking books and Google Maps I was just a short browse away from finding a suitable route. Living in Lancashire means there are several very obvious areas for hill-walking nearby. I can be in the Lake District National Park within an hour, and have indeed made many a 1-day trip to the area for this purpose. On this occasion though, that would have been missing the point really. We’re on a budget here, remember! I opened a walk book, found routes of around 6 miles and selected the nearest one. 10 miles from home and this time I chose a patch not quite so well-known. 6 miles seemed a reasonable length of route to pick, in an area I’ve cruised past on the motorway hundreds of times, without giving a thought to what lies beyond the junction. Lunch was packed, bootlaces were tied and off we went!
Walking: you’re thinking more leisurely stroll than intense workout, aren’t you? Granted it’s no HIIT meltdown or plyometric killer, however the physical impact is definitely surprising. 6 miles walking on a treadmill – or even a pavement, for that matter – may not be overtly strenuous. Overcoming the ‘OMG this is the most tedious thing ever’ mental battle may be the greatest challenge there. 6 miles traipsing through rutted muddy fields, forest pathways and whatever other terrain you may encounter, on the other hand, is a whole lot more wearing on the muscles, not to mention easier on the eye. Often it’s a case of ‘we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we’ll have to go through it’ haha. Throw a pair of hefty walking boots (aka ankle weights) and a rucksack stuffed with ‘things there’s a 0.5% chance we’ll need’ into the mix, and you’ve some added resistance too, go you! Many areas of natural beauty are on the hilly side, so there’s chance for a decent leg workout whilst you’re at it. Glutes will pump to power you uphill and the quads will burn on the descent.
Walking need not be a pastime solely for the retired or the young families. As a form of exercise that can be (and is most enjoyable when) combined with socialising, hitting the hills is far easier and cheaper than joining a spin class with the gals. Plus, you might be mega-sore afterwards but shouldn’t be too puffed out for a catchup along the way!
So…fancy going for a walk?
P.S. My next post in this series I’ll be sharing my military-style bootcamp experience, so check back for pictures of me falling over a plenty and bear crawling across a muddy field, plus my thoughts on the session. It was fun. 😀