Benefits of walking and some local walks in your area

As limitations on what we can do and where we can go persist due to Covid-19, some of you may be wondering what to do to unwind over half-term. Research has shown that regular walking has many benefits, both mental and physical, which we have listed below. Hopefully, it will encourage and inspire you to take some local walks, which we have also listed for you, to help you relax over this October half-term.

  1. Improves circulation: walking wards off heart disease, brings up heart rate, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart.
  2. Shores up your bones: can stop the loss of bone mass.
  3. Helps you live a longer life: research finds that people who exercise regularly in their fifties and sixties, are 35% less likely to die over the next eight years than their non-walking counterparts.
  4. Lightens your mood: walking releases natural pain­ relieving endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise.
  5. Lose weight: a brisk 30-minute walk burns 200 calories.
  6. Strengthens muscles: walking tones your leg and abdominal muscles – and even arm muscles if you pump them as you walk. This increases your range of motion, shifting the pressure and weight from your joints to your muscles.
  7. Improves sleep.
  8. Supports your joints: the majority of joint cartilage has no direct blood supply, getting its nutrition from joint fluid that circulates as we move. Movement and compression from walking “squishes” the cartilage, bringing oxygen and nutrients into the area.
  9. Improves your breath: when walking, your breathing rate increases, causing oxygen to travel faster through the bloodstream, helping to eliminate waste products and improve your energy level and ability to heal.
  10. Slows down your mental decline.
  11. Lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  12. Helps you do more for longer: aerobic walking and resistance exercise programs, may reduce the incidence of disability in activities of daily living as one gets older.

Try incorporating walking into your daily routine, by walking to the shops, walking to work/school or simply taking the stairs. You can even download apps on your phone to track your walks, to see the distance you have walked, and calories burned.

Here we have picked out some excellent walks for you to take in your local area.

The Tolkien Trail, Ribble Valley

  • 9km/ 5.5 miles
  • Circular walk starting and finishing in Hurst Green. Walk in the footsteps of author J.R.R. Tolkien who regularly stayed at Stonyhurst College in the Ribble Valley. This five-and-a-half-mile walk explores the richly beautiful surroundings that inspired him and a number of names which occur in The Lord of the Rings are similar to those found locally.

Walking with the Witches Trail, Pendle

  • Full loop – 7.5 miles. In the shadow of Pendle Hill lie pretty villages, which tell a story of intrigue and witchcraft nearly 400 years old. Follow in the footsteps of the legendary Pendle Witches on this seven-and-a-half-mile walk. There are two loops which you can take the Western loop at 4 miles, starting at Barley car park, or the astern loop starting from same point.
Darwen Tower Walk, Darwen
  • 2 miles
  • 5 hours approx. – steep ascent. A west Pennine Moors Trail circular walk takes in some fantastic views of the surrounding countryside from Darwen Moors. Darwen Tower was built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.
The Lancashire Cheese Walk, North Preston
  • 6 miles. Explore the area just north of Preston, known as the ‘Lancashire Milk Fields’, on this six-mile circular walk starting and finishing in the village of Inglewhite. On this walk find out about the cows that produce our milk, the farmers who look after them and the traditional Lancashire cheese makers. Discover how the fields have been shaped by technology, economics and politics. Find out how Lancashire cheese is made and why it is different from other cheeses