Walking: a great way to burn off Easter egg calories

Despite having the best intentions, many people overindulge during the Easter holidays, with chocolate arguably the main culprit.

So this year, why not take your family for a long walk during the holiday weekend? It will get you out into the fresh air – weather permitting – as well as burn off some of the extra calories from your Easter feasting.

Walking isn’t just an ideal family activity, it can help improve your health too. According to the NHS it’s one of the easiest ways to become healthier, and has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, asthma and some cancers.

Britain’s walking charity Ramblers also claims that if everyone in England did enough walking to meet recommended guidelines, it could prevent almost 295,000 cases of diabetes and just over 12,000 cases of people going to hospital for emergency coronary heart disease treatment, as well as prevent almost 37,000 premature deaths.

Going for a brisk walk on a regular basis can also help you to maintain a healthy weight and improve your joint and muscle strength, not to mention boost your mood and help you get a better night’s sleep. And it’s a great way to help you meet the current recommended activity target, which is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week 

Plan ahead

Here are some tips from Ramblers to help you have a fun walk with your family this Easter:

Make it an adventure   Don’t just suggest going for a walk, make it an outing or adventure to somewhere like a park, a playground, woods or a pond, and treat your family to a picnic or take something to eat and drink along the way. Also plan fun activities and games such as a treasure hunt; look out for animals, birds, trees, people, buildings, colours; or collect tree seeds, leaves, shells, and small stones. Consider getting the whole family involved in planning the walk too, perhaps plotting the route on a map and map reading during the walk itself.

Be prepared   Make sure everyone has comfortable clothes and shoes, and extra layers in case of rain or cold weather. Also remember to take hats and plenty of suitable sun protection, as well as a cream for bites and stings (available at pharmacies).

Take it slow   Be prepared to go at your child’s pace, stopping to play and look at things on the way, and to cut the walk short if they get tired. With regular walking children will build up their fitness just as an adult does – but keep walks short until you know about their abilities.

Meanwhile don’t forget that walking isn’t just for Easter; try to stay active all year round. If you need some extra motivation, you could join a local walking group such as the Walking for Health programme, which is run jointly by Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support. Visit the website to search for walks in your area.

You can also find organised walking events at the Walk4Life website, or why not join a walking group such as the British  Walking Federation, Metropolitan Walkers (for people in their 20s to early 40s who live in London and the South East) or – if you want to take things further – the Long Distance Walkers Association.

If you’re new to exercise or if you have a medical condition, check with your GP before getting started. Don’t overdo it – start slowly and build up the distance you walk gradually.

For more tips on staying active, speak to your local Careway pharmacist (find your nearest pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder).