One thing that I have been thinking about lately (after chatting with lots of people on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) is that having some resources for walking routes for beginners fitness would be a really useful addition to the blog. And I have to agree! Jit and I have been through a number of bits of kit as well as experimented with different routes so if we can help you get going faster than that is great!
So with that in mind I am going to start with a bit of a compilation of places that are already on the blog and then start creating new and exciting posts to get you going. I think I might even have some other fun ideas too (keep your eyes peeled!) No matter what level you are at though, there is something and somewhere to get walking and taking an outside adventure! Every step counts.
Haigh Hall Woodland Park
If you’re new to getting out walking then you want to make sure that you start working your way up. Jit and I found that doing small walks often really helped to build up our fitness levels and meant that we could gently increase our walking and the strenuousness of the walks as we progressed. One of the best ways of building up is by doing lots of urban wanders on the flat (or flat-ish) ground where you live or work. However, it is always nice to have somewhere with a bit of greenery to give you that little extra boost on the weekends and when you get chance after work.
Haigh Hall Woodland Park in Wigan (40 minutes in the car down the M61) has three main routes within the park as well as the Jubilee walk which takes you further afield. The walks range between 1 mile to 5.6 miles so it is a fantastic place to get started. The other plus side of getting some walking in here is that you get to do some small hills too, which is great practice and helps boost that heart rate while you’re exercising.
Although it might look pretty muddy in the pictures and video from our visit, most of the walks are on hard standing or only lightly muddy areas (we went on a particularly wet day!) The routes take you around both the park and the woodland areas as well as a part of the canal so you get nice varied views and experience.
As the routes are fairly short you can do one and see how you’re feeling and then take another if you’re feeling up for it. I promise you will find that you can walk further than you think you can. It was something that always surprised Jit and I when we first started out with our goals of hitting one mile and then three miles and so on.
You can download the routes here:
Download Green and Blue Walking Routes (Green: 1.8 miles/1 hour, Blue: 1 mile/30 minutes)
Download Red Walking Route (5.6 miles/2-3 hours)
Download History Trail (1.8 miles/2-3 hours)
Boggart Hole Clough
For something a bit closer into Manchester, Boggart Hole Clough also offers a lovely range of woodland, waterside and open space for walking on hard standing paths. There are no prescribed routes, but there is plenty of space to explore and walk.
Boggart Hole Clough is situated just by Blackley/Moston to the East of the city and has an abundance of ways that you can walk. On our visit we walked through the wooded area along through the playing fields and around the lake which took us up some gentle hills and mainly on flat paved paths. There are way makers pointing to the main roads, so you have an idea where you are.
The red dotted lines on the map represent walking paths so there is scope to make the walk as long or as short as you feel is suitable for you. As the park is situated near some major bus routes, you can always find your way back to Manchester city centre easily to should you begin to tire. I have created a medium strength circular walk that starts and ends at Rochdale Road.
If you download View Ranger to your phone, you can download the route here.
One of my favourite places to walk, whether for a long or a short wander, is the canal. We have access to so many different canals in the city including the Rochdale, the Ashton and the Bridgewater. We are also very lucky that the paths are very well maintained meaning that we have access to many fairly flat and paved areas to walk along.
The best way to make the most of your walks on the canals are to start and finish at the same point. It might seem a bit boring to do a linear walk to and back, but you’d be surprised how different everything looks when you go the other way. Give yourself a time to stick to and walk as far as you can (but not until you’re exhausted as you still have to go back) in half the time you have given yourself and then head back. The good thing about doing this is that you can tailor the route to how you feel and also have physical markers to see how you have progressed e.g. make it to the bridge for a week and then add that little but more the next to get to the graffiti for example.
At this time of year though it is worth noting that it does get dark earlier and the light can be very poor along the canals. So make sure that you give yourself plenty of time and keep to doing it during the daytime.
I hope that you have found some good routes to try to some tips to get you started. If there is anything specific that you would like me to include in the beginners posts either pop me an email or comment below and I’ll get working on some great resources for you.
Here’s to getting more outside adventures this year and boosting fitness together!
…and remember, we all have to start somewhere!
Got any questions or need some tips about something?
Let me know in the comment below and I’ll get working on posts to answer them for you.