It’s a wonderful feeling walking along a beach; watching the sea touch your toes as you walk.
I enjoy walking all year round winter and summer. It’s a good way to exercise and keep the weight off.
There’s no better time to start exploring new surroundings on foot during summer.
Being a fibromyalgia sufferer, my joints feel less painful and movement gets easier during the warmer months.
If I can try to increase my exercise by walking a bit further each day in summer. It can help to prepare for when autumn and winter limit my movement.
I first started walking regularly before I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I had been suffering with lower back pain, which had got progressively worse. I had been unable to work and my doctor said I need to go to physio first and suggested walking.
At the time I thought it was really unhelpful advice as I could barely move, let alone walk anywhere! But after the physio got me mobile, I started with short bursts at first of 5 to 10 minutes, progressing to longer walks. Now I do a regular walk every day and have not suffered from back pain so much; I also have more energy to do things.
I look forward to my walk everyday, sometimes twice a day if I’m not too tired later on. I am fortunate that I live near a park and I can vary my daily walks through wooded areas and quiet residential streets.
I usually spend about 25-45 minutes on each walk and vary the terrain. On really cold or wet days when my symptoms are worse, I go for a walk at a local covered shopping centre, which means I still get exercise but I’m not exposed to the elements as much as outside.
If you have started walking recently or plan to begin and have not exercised recently you may want to consult your doctor or health professional beforehand.
If your joints are very stiff it might help to try gentle exercise at your local heated swimming pool first. Exercising in water supports the body and would free up joints. If you are a wheelchair user some pools have special equipment to access the water easily.
Throughout the UK free regular guided walks are provided by Walking for health which is funded by the UK People’s Postcode Lottery and Macmillan. They offer different short walks for beginners which are for 20-30 minutes long. The route you walk over is easy terrain as they are specifically designed for people who are not very active. Some walks are suitable for wheelchair users and people with buggies.
If you are a wheelchair user the UK website Walks with wheelchairsis dedicated to routes for wheelchair users. All walks have been tested by wheelchair users.
The NHS Walking for health site gives helpful advice for anyone wanting to start walking.