Basingstoke Voluntary Sports Council
Walk, Jog, Run, Cycle or Swim
Suggested Activities available
Regular walking gives you more energy and staying power, better health and lower stress. It also helps prevent thinning bones (osteoporosis), heart disease and certain cancers. And you’ll be doing your bit for the environment by leaving your car at home.
It doesn’t matter whether you do your 30 minutes all in one go or as two or three chunks throughout the day. And, did you know – walking a mile is just as good as running a mile?
Build walking into your life
Try these ideas to clock up 30 minutes of walking a day – you’ll be amazed how easily the weight drops off and your fitness levels increase:
- Walk to the shops instead of taking the bus.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Pick the kids up from school on foot rather than by car.
- Walk all or part-way to work – you'll save funds and feel bright and positive when you get in. (Wear comfy shoes).
- Instead of a tea break, take a walking break at work.
- At work, take your lunch out with you to the park instead of eating it in the canteen.
- If you're at the laundrette, go for a stroll while your clothes are drying.
- Set your alarm for 20-30 minutes earlier in the morning so you can walk before breakfast.
- Stretch your legs at the station while waiting for your train to depart.
- Park your car at the far end of the car park from where you're going, so you get a few strides in on the way.
- Going shopping? Amble around Festival Place once or twice before you go in to a shop.
Keeping it interesting
- Take the scenic routes - through the park or via quiet side roads. But at night stick to well-lit streets and it's better to walk in company.
- Try varying your pace - alternate between walking five minutes fast and five minutes at medium speed.
- Set yourself some targets - in week one you might walk from home to the next bus stop, then get on your bus. In week two you might head for the bus stop after that and so on until you're walking all the way to work.
Once you’ve been walking for a few months you’ll be raring to go. Here are some ideas for branching out.
There are many footpaths running through the beautiful Hampshire countryside surrounding Basingstoke and the villages in the borough. Walking guides can be bought from many retail outlets ranging from family walks around the villages to National Trail Guides. You can also pick up a free leaflet on the Basingstoke Canal Heritage Footpath or download further information from our website.
The Wayfarer’s Walk runs 70 miles across Hampshire, passing through Ashmansworth, Kingsclere, Oakley, Dummer and The Candovers
Self Guided Walks
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has devised three self-guided walk leaflets that can be downloaded from their website www.basingstoke.gov.uk/leisure .
- Walk 1 - Around The War Memorial Park
- Walk 2 - Around Eastrop Park and The War Memorial Park
- Walk 3 - Around The War Memorial Park, Black Dam Ponds and Crabtree Plantation
Health walks - www.whi.org.uk
Enjoy your local parks and open spaces and improve your fitness, by joining the walking for health scheme in Basingstoke and Deane. Led by volunteer leaders, the walks vary each week. They are non-competitive, everybody is welcome and all walks are FREE of charge.
The following ramblers clubs run affordable days out to the countryside and shorter walks in towns and cities.
Basingstoke Ramblers Club - www.hants.org.uk/basingstokeramblers
Basingstoke Ramblers Club is a group of some 200 people of all ages and fitness levels. They walk three times a week and occasionally go away for a weekend or holiday excursion. Most walks are about six to eight miles but some are a little further and include a pub stop.
Whitchurch Rambling Club - www.whitchurchramblers.org.uk
The Whitchurch Rambling Club meets on a regular basis throughout the year. If you are interested in seeing the beautiful Hampshire countryside, keeping fit and meeting people, why not drop them a line?
North Hampshire Downs Group (Ramblers’ Association) - www.hants.gov.uk/ramblersnhd
The NHD group have an interesting and broad-based walks programme including leisurely and brisk walks. The distance covered is usually between four and seven miles and occasionally longer walks of around ten miles taking half a day.
If your last experience of jogging was limping around the school cross-country course in the pouring rain, then don’t be put off forever - jogging is as easy as a walk in the park... only a little bit faster.
There’s no need to go pounding the pavements for hours with a red face. It’s much better to take a brisk walk around the park, mixed in with some gentle jogging. Consider upgrading to jog-walking - where you intersperse brisk walking with some slow jogging, for a couple of minutes and then slow down to walking.
Just 10 minutes of jog-walking several times a week can burn fat and strengthen your legs.
Is jogging safe for me?
As long as you’re healthy and start slowly, you should be fine. But if you have diabetes, chest pain, asthma, epilepsy, high blood pressure, have had recent surgery or are pregnant, it is best to check with your GP first.
You’re ready to jog once you can easily walk fast for 30 minutes. But remember you’re not in competition with anyone, so if you’re gasping for air or you’re in pain, go back to walking.
- Wear comfortable clothing in thin layers but don’t overdress
- In winter a tracksuit under a light windproof top is ideal
- At night and in bad weather wear bright reflective clothing - such as a luminous vest
- Women should wear a well-fitting, supportive sports bra
Where should I run ?
The best jogging routes are scenic, well lit and traffic-free with good local routes in The War Memorial Park, Eastrop Park, Black dam Ponds or Crabtree Plantation. Wherever you go, try to choose recognised trails, smooth grass or tarmac rather than hard pavements that will jar your knees and hips.
- If jogging at night, stick to well-lit areas and try to run in a group. Let someone know your route and when you will be back
- Be careful with music or headphones, because you may not hear cars coming. And watch out for bikes and pedestrians
- Don’t worry about getting faster - go further or for longer, not harder
- Never run when you have a virus or fever
- Never run through an injury - you could make it worse
How do I keep at it ?
- Give yourself a clear aim - such as running in a fun run. There are many local events in the borough each year including Race for Life held at the Down Grange Sports Complex. This and many other events are designed for all types of runners - from beginners to more experienced athletes.
- Take it slowly it’s tempting to try keeping up with friends who are much faster than you. Although you’ll probably improve, you could develop shin splints or another injury that will stop you jogging for a while.
- Encourage yourself. If you keep saying to yourself "I’m rubbish at this," you’ll run out of energy. So create a more positive statement and repeat this out loud as you run. You could try: "With every step I take, I’m getting fitter and stronger."
- Vary your route. Try your usual route the other way round or somewhere new.
- Keep a training diary - so you’ll be able to look back and see just how far you’ve come.
- Get social - jog with a friend or consider joining a club - they’ll show you new routes and you’ll meet like-minded positive people.
Getting on your bike regularly not only gets you where you want to go faster, it protects you against a wide range of ill health problems and also makes you feel better. Cycling reduces stress.
Forget traffic jams and problems with parking – riding your bike provides real door to door travel. Like all the exercises in this book, cycling can de-stress you and give you more zest for life.
Cycling is particularly good because it puts little strain on joints such as ankles and knees. It not only helps to shed those extra pounds but also helps increase muscle tone and reduces the risk of heart attacks.
It’s great for everyone
Cycling fits in with your daily life. Spend time with the family at the weekend or go "off road" in the evening. It’s an activity you can enjoy at any level.
There’s no time like the present to start. Cycling is an activity for all seasons and in our mild climate there are few days too hot or too cold to enjoy being on a bike.
Anyone can ride a bike; once learned, never forgotten. Start off on flat roads or paths and build up slowly. For suitable routes near to your home visit some of the websites listed below or give us a call on 01256 844844 for a brochure.
If you haven’t used your bike for a while and need to boost your confidence on the road contact Hampshire Cycle Training on 07963 237619 or log on to www.hampshirecycletraining.org.uk for individual or group tuition at a small cost.
Swimming is a great way of improving your all-round fitness because it can boost strength, stamina and suppleness all at the same time. It has all the benefits of running but with some of the strength-building effects of weight training and improves suppleness almost as much as a dance class.
Swimming uses all the major muscle groups and is a demanding exercise that helps to keep your heart and lungs healthy. Swimming also helps to keep joints flexible, especially in the neck, shoulders and hips as your limbs and body move through the water.
Once you can swim a wide range of other water based activities are open to you, from sailing to snorkelling, water polo, canoeing or aqua aerobics.
Try the Amateur Swimming Association’s Swimfit programme which gives support and guidance to those who swim for fitness, including those who want to swim to lose weight.
Swimming is, generally, kinder to your body than land-based exercise because your natural buoyancy in water helps you avoid the jarring knocks that can cause injuries.
Swimming often suits those who have arthritis or back problems, weight problems or women who are pregnant.
Strength and co-ordination built up by swimming reduces the risk of falls and hip fractures in the elderly.
- Tadley Swimming Pool (0118 981 7818)
- Basingstoke Aquadrome (01256 472343)
- Basingstoke Sports Centre (01256 302222)