Now that is a long title but then those that know me well would expect nothing less I never say one word when two will do the same job. In this case just suggesting walking means nothing to people, I needed to get the point in there instantly. Walking is what we reluctantly do when we can’t park outside of the place we want to visit Walking is what we do when we return from the local, walking is a thing poor people do. Just suggesting it will get a groan of boredom, it is boring but suck it up.

In the first of these I talk about how to simplify a diet for weight loss that is do-able and instantly available ( click here) after a month or so you need to step it up literally. The walking I am talking about is just as dull as any other form hiking but even longer. I make no apology to diehard hiking fans here. What you do is days out in the country, what I do is daily grinding routes purely to improve this scrap yard body I have developed through neglect.

I started by picking out a circular route of about 3 miles. The first bit was uphill, a mile of it roughly flat and the last bit downhill. Then I increased it to 5 miles with the same variation. At first it was hard going, I stopped several times going up and encountered a few foot related painful issues. You never understand how crap cheap boots are until you actually use them for more than a trip around Aldi.

Time went on and to be honest the greatest challenge was to not put off walking my allotted distance until the tomorrow that never came. It worked though. I lost steady weight in the first couple of months but found that a couple of days when I lapsed back into fat boy mode would stall the progress. Once I began my wandering in earnest the flab fell off me.

As I keep saying I am essentially a loner so hence this form of exercise. You put on a pair of jeans etc and head out. No-one you pass is judging your style or how out of breath you are as the pace and your general demeanour is no different from someone rushing to get to work or catch the last post of the day. It was off putting for a friend when she went out jogging only to run across two helpful youths shouting ‘ Look at the fat lass run’ for example. Other advice I was given years ago was run at night or early morning to avoid that feeling of looking like a sweating lump of lard. Fine but there is another more pressing reason not to run or to hammer the gym early on in your renovation of you.

Joints. Even if you were out of shape but not carrying extra cargo starting out by jogging like you used to is risky. Over 50 we have a lot of miles already on the muscular skeletal clock. Pounding the pavement can niggle the hell out of old injuries and likely present some deliciously painful new ones. In the first weeks that will almost certainly put you off.

Everything I write is aimed at those of us who are not gym bunnies so don’t do anything rapid and drastic. Walk as they say before you can run.

Aim at say 9 miles ( three days) per week. It should be no more than three hours out of your week honestly. Obviously you can vary it if you struggle, or looking at it on the positive side, you find it too easy. Put some hills or steps or whatever in there this will pay off later when you take your fitness up a level.

In my opinion nothing is cheaper, more readily available and private as a steady walking regime to lose pounds and prepare you for later challenges. Start tomorrow, use google maps or a quick drive around your area to measure the distance and get on with it. Three miles in my book is an egg butty for free ( roughly hey it is the spirit of calorie counting not the OCD of it remember) when you are dieting every shame free sandwich counts.

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