Walking is the easiest, cheapest and most accessible form of exercise for most people.
It can be enjoyed both indoors (eg. shopping centres) and outdoors and the low impact on joints means pain-free exercise with plenty of health benefits.
There is an extensive network of footpaths and designated cycle / walking paths throughout the region, as well as a number of scenic trails.
Benefits of walking
- Keeps you connected
Walking gets you out of the house, meeting new people and you get to know your local area
- Improves self-esteem & mental health
Reduces stress and depression
- Improves your health
Increases your energy, improves circulation and helps manage weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes
- Good for the environment
Reduce air / noise pollution by reducing reliance on other modes of transport
- Reduces risk of disease
Reduces risk of getting prostate cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure
- Save money - walking is FREE
Transportation costs represent 16% of total household expenditure
A person gains the most health benefits when their heart rate is increased during walking. National guidelines indicate that a 'moderate' level of activity is required for 30 minutes per day.
A simple method of determining a suitable walking pace is the 'huff and puff' test. Talking should be possible whilst walking but not whistling.
Walking safety tips
Before and when walking ensure you:
- Wear comfortable light weight shoes & clothing that breathes (thongs are not suitable)
- Be sun smart - use sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses
- Stay hydrated - drink water before, during and after your walk
- Avoid walking in the middle of the day or in other extreme conditions
- Stay visible by wearing light coloured or reflective clothing and cross the road in well list areas at night
- Avoid walking immediately after big meals
- Seek medical advice prior to walking if injured, sick or are starting walking for the first time
- Know your fitness level - if unusual fatigue, severe shortness of breath or chest pain is experienced during walking, stop immediately and seek medical attention
- Obey all road rules, even when on pathways
- Where possible walk in pairs ensuring that someone has a mobile phone
Road rules for pedestrians
As a pedestrian you need to know when you have right of way on the road. However, you should never attempt to cross a road without scanning the traffic first.
Some of the most important rules to remember are:
- Always use a pedestrian crossing or a pedestrian refuge if there is one available. If not, cross the road by the shortest and safest route, looking left and right before crossing
- Only cross at pedestrian lights when the light is green. If you are crossing with a green light and the light changes to flashing red, you should cross directly to the other side of the road, or the nearest traffic island designated for pedestrians, as quickly and safely as possible.
- If using a wheeled recreational device such as a scooter, skateboard or rollerblades, give way to pedestrians
- On separated paths, walk on the side of the path designated for pedestrians
Visit the Department of Transport and Main Roads for a full version of the road rules.
Walk your dog
Dogs love exercise and play too. They also provide great companions to motivate you to walk. So why not walk your dog to one of your local active dog agility parks today.
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