Walking for health: the comprehensive guide to boosting your wellness

a group of people walking on a path

Walking is simple, free, and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight, and become healthier. Despite its simplicity, the benefits of walking for health are profound and can be a game-changer for anyone looking to improve their overall well-being.

Walking for 30 minutes daily offers numerous health benefits, including:

  • Reduces resting heart rate.
  • Lowers blood pressure and LDL (bad cholesterol).
  • Increases heart health.
  • Enhances mood.
  • Boosts cognitive function.
  • Decreases coronary heart disease risk by about 19%.
  • Lowers the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
  • Strengthens bones and muscles.

In this guide, we will delve into the many facets of walking for health, offering tips, motivation, and solutions to common foot health problems to ensure you get the most out of your walking routine.

What if I’m not very active?

If you’re not very active, don’t worry. Walking is an excellent way to ease into a more active lifestyle. Start with short, manageable sessions and gradually build up. Even a 10-minute walk can be incredibly beneficial and serves as a great starting point.

If you’re unable to leave the house, consider trying one of the NHS free Fitness Studio exercise videos for a helpful workout.

Staying motivated to walk

Staying motivated is key to maintaining a regular walking routine. Here are some tips to keep you going:

Make it a habit

Incorporate walking into your daily routine. Walk to work, take the stairs, or go for a walk during your lunch break. Consistency is crucial.

Listen to music

Create a playlist of your favourite upbeat songs. Music can make walking more enjoyable and help you maintain a brisk pace.

Use the active 10 app

The Active 10 app is a fantastic tool to track your walking habits, set goals, and stay motivated. It’s designed to help you achieve at least 10 minutes of brisk walking daily.

Mix it up

Variety can keep things interesting. Try different routes, walk in nature, or incorporate interval walking to challenge yourself.

Join a walking group

Walking with others can make the activity more enjoyable and provide a sense of accountability. Look for local walking groups or clubs in your community.

Ramblers Wellbeing Walk

Wellbeing Walks are dedicated to enhancing the nation’s wellbeing, one step at a time, and we invite you to join us. By participating, you’ll enable even more individuals to experience the joys of walking and gain the benefits of an active lifestyle. Whether you wish to initiate a new health walk within an existing group or establish a new Ramblers Wellbeing Walks group in your area, we provide all the support you need to get started with ease.

Before you start the walk

Before embarking on your walking journey, it’s essential to prepare adequately to prevent injuries and maximise benefits. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Wear comfortable shoes: ensure your footwear provides adequate support and cushioning.
  • Start slowly: if you’re new to walking, start with shorter distances and gradually increase your pace and duration.
  • Warm-up: spend a few minutes stretching your legs, hips, and ankles to prepare your body for activity.
  • For long walks: consider packing a small backpack with water, healthy snacks, a spare top, sunscreen, and a sun hat.

Keeping your feet healthy for walks

Walking, while beneficial, can sometimes lead to foot health problems. Here at Waverley Clinic Farnham, we offer the latest innovative treatment for your foot problems and pain. Remember, if you experience any painful issues or problems with your feet, always consult your GP or visit a Podiatrist.

Let’s explore some common foot issues and how to address them:

Hard skin, calluses, and corns

These common foot conditions are caused by pressure on the skin from walking, running, standing, or wearing tight footwear. The skin thickens to protect itself, often resulting in a hard patch called a corn. Over time, these areas can become uncomfortable and painful, requiring treatment by a professional.


Visiting a podiatrist is highly recommended. They can expertly remove hard skin and corns using specialised tools. Post-treatment, your podiatrist will provide advice on how to reduce future discomfort, such as the daily use of foot cream.

Pain in the foot

Pain in the foot can stem from various causes and can significantly impact daily activities. Identifying the root cause is essential for effective treatment.

Common origins of foot pain include plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and arthritis. Plantar fasciitis involves inflammation of the tissue running along the bottom of the foot, leading to sharp heel pain. Achilles tendinitis affects the Achilles tendon and typically presents as pain and stiffness in the back of the heel. Arthritis in the foot, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, can result in joint pain and reduced mobility.

Could the pain be plantar fasciitis?

The primary symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain located on the underside of the foot, specifically around the heel and arch areas. A foot with red shading around the heel indicates the potential presence of plantar fasciitis.

Check if you have plantar fasciitis:

  • Pain is more intense when you start walking after sleeping or resting.
  • The pain subsides during exercise but returns afterwards.
  • Difficulty raising your toes off the floor.

How to ease plantar fasciitis yourself

When consulting a GP, they will typically recommend the following:


  • Rest and elevate your foot on a stool whenever possible.
  • Apply an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel) to the painful area for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Wear shoes with cushioned heels and good arch support.
  • Use insoles or heel pads in your footwear.
  • Engage in regular, gentle stretching exercises.
  • Opt for activities that don’t strain your feet, such as swimming.
  • Analgesia e.g. Paracetamol
  • If you’re overweight, consider weight loss to alleviate pressure on your feet.

Do not:

  • Do not walk or stand for long periods
  • Do not wear high heels or tight pointy shoes
  • Do not wear flip-flops or backless slippers
  • Try not to walk barefoot 

Contact Waverley Clinic if you are experiencing heel pain

Incorporating walking into your daily routine can bring about a wide of health benefits, from improving cardiovascular fitness to boosting mental well-being. However, it is crucial to pay attention to the health of your feet to ensure that walking remains a comfortable and enjoyable activity. 

Should you encounter persistent pain or any other foot health problems, do not hesitate to contact Waverley Clinic Farnham by calling 01252 716611

Our team of professionals is dedicated to providing top-notch care to keep you walking pain-free and enjoying an active lifestyle.

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Picture of Jonathan Kirk - Lead Chiropodist / Podiatrist and Practice Owner | MChS BSc (Hons)

Jonathan Kirk - Lead Chiropodist / Podiatrist and Practice Owner | MChS BSc (Hons)

Mr Jonathan Kirk is the proud owner and manager of Waverley Clinic. With a diverse background in healthcare, he first embarked on his professional journey as a Registered General Nurse. Subsequently, he carved out a successful career in the UK medical industry, excelling in sales and senior management roles. As his passion for podiatry grew stronger, Jonathan made the decision to further his education as a mature student, pursuing a BSc (Hons) degree in podiatry. Now, he resides in Farnham, utilising his extensive clinical and podiatric expertise to benefit his patients.

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We Have Moved – Waverley Foot Clinic has changed location to 21A East Street, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7SD (only 100 metres along East Street towards the town)