These tips apply whether you are walking for ten minutes, 30 minutes or an hour or more and if you are an experienced walker or a novice walker - you need to take care of yourself.
Before you set off
Remember if you are going walking alone it makes sense to tell someone when and where you are going.
It could be a phone call to your mum/neighbour/friend/daughter.
Whether you are walking in a city or park or in the countryside .
Leave all your valuables at home, not in the car or on you.
Very important! Wear comfortable shoes or boots.
New boots or shoes should be worn in gradually otherwise you run the risk of blisters.
Wear coloured clothing - the brighter the better so you can be seen clearly.
Layer your clothing so you can take off or add layers according to the outside temperature so your body stays at the right temperature.
What to take with you
Don't forget to take some sunscreen and/or sunhat plus sunglasses if you know the weather will be warm.
Take a small bag with your water, sunscreen and keys - to protect the items line it with a plastic bag so contents will keep dry if it rains.
Take some dried or fresh fruit if you are going on a longer walk to help you keep up those energy levels.
It is surprising how quickly you can get hungry out in the fresh air.Children always enjoy an outdoor snack.
Carry some personal identification in case of accident.
Mobile phones are useful should an emergency arise but keep them out of sight and switched off.
If you are walking alone it is a good idea to carry a whistle or personal alarm - somewhere where it would be instantly accessible.
When you are out walking
Be on the lookout for hazards such as broken pavement that could trip you up.
Tree branches that could catch your eyes.
Or suspicious characters.
Never walk the same route at the same time each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for example. Vary your walking routes and times if you can.
Be extra careful when using headphones/walkmans – you can’t hear potential hazards such as cars etc.
Always walk facing in the direction of the oncoming traffic if you have to walk on a road with no pavement/sidewalk.
Plan to walk at a steady pace and don't forget to take rest breaks if you need them.
Allow yourself plenty of time, whether you are walking in urban or rural areas.
Remember that what took 20 minutes going downhill can take twice as long coming back up.
With children - never let them run ahead, but explain to them why they should stay with you e.g. I’m worried in case you get lost, get run over, fall over etc.
Lastly if you are worried about walking alone
Then join a club or go on led walks
Even better get the family or friends to join you.
Have a good walk!!
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