9 surprising walking activities
Walking is a great way to get active - it's fun, flexible and free. But if you're looking for something more unusual than a stroll in your local park, check out our list of nine surprising walking activities and find out how you can get involved.
1. Walking football
Played on a small pitch similar to five-a-side, the pace of walking football makes it ideal for people with injuries or health issues.
Joining a walking football team helped Brian King get active after heart surgery. Read Brian's story.
2. Walking basketball
There may be few slam dunks, but walking basketball is a great workout and no less competitive than the original. It's low impact but also mentally challenging, as you work as a team to outmanoeuvre your opponents.
It’s an excellent team activity and recent grants from Sport England have helped boost the game’s popularity.
3. Nordic walking
Originating in Finland, Nordic walking works the whole body whilst being easy on the joints and heart. Participants hold ski-style poles and move their arms in time with each stride. The poles help propel you along, giving you a great workout that doesn't feel too strenuous.
Test your navigational skills using a map and compass to get from A to B. Orienteering is a diverse sport which can take you through varying terrains, both rural and urban, and it's the perfect walking activity to take you out of your comfort zone.
- Find your nearest permanent orienteering course at the British Orienteering website or call 01629 583 037.
5. Walking rugby
Rather than speed, walking rugby is all about teamwork, tactics and ballhandling skills. It's non-contact, and you must release the ball within three seconds. Recent funding from Sport England and the Postcode Lottery has helped boost the sport, and lots of local rugby clubs run their own walking rugby teams.
The CREW (Cardiac Rehabilitation Exercise Walking) Heart Support Group in Halifax recently tried their hand at walking rugby, thanks to support from the Bradford Bulls Community Foundation. The session (pictured above) was a big success, and a welcome addition to the group's exercise programme. Group member Malcolm Meredith described it as 'super fun and a good workout at all levels'.
Use GPS or a geocaching app on your smartphone to seek hidden containers, and then add a piece of treasure to the stash along with a log of the time and date you left it there. There are nearly three million active geocaches worldwide, so you’ll find one almost anywhere in the UK. It's a great way to explore, and you can do it entirely at your own pace.
7. Walking a dog
Even if you don’t have a dog, there are still opportunities for dog walking. The Borrow my dog website pairs owners with dog-lovers for an annual fee. Or volunteer with your local dogs’ home for walking or fostering, or with the charity Cinnamon Trust, which finds walkers for dogs of elderly and ill people.
8. Race walking
Unlike runners, race walkers must keep one foot on the ground at all times or risk getting a red card - three red cards and you're out of the race. Race walking is an Olympic sport but you don't need to be Olympic standard to take part. There are UK events for every age and ability, over a range of distances.
9. City walking
If a heart event prompted you to see the world, why not improve your health in the process? City walks let you do both. You could find a route in your nearest city, or explore a new city further afield and see the sights whilst getting active.
Go the extra mile for the BHF
Inspired to walk? Just Walk enables you to set your own personal challenge and turn walking into money for life saving research. It’s incredibly flexible:
- Choose where, when and how far you walk. So whether it’s a solo effort or you and your friends are walking together, fundraising has never been so easy or fun.
- We’ll send you a free Just Walk fundraising pack including lots of tips and advice – you’ll even get a T-shirt and bag for you to use on the day.
Sign up today and you can start planning your life saving walk straight away. Visit the Just Walk website, or call 0300 330 3322.
If you want to really push yourself, you could register for one of our organised overseas treks. Choose your challenge at the BHF Walks and Treks website or call 0845 130 8663.