There is no doubt that walking is an excellent form of exercise and is accessible to most people. As we are more aware of the importance of regular exercise, walking can be easily built into your week to help you achieve a fitness goal. Whether it is a short walk with a friend, taking the dog out or going the long way around when you nip out to the local shops, there are many ways of including walking in your goals. If you are just starting your ‘fitness journey’, or are usually put off by exercise due to time, health issues or lack of motivation, thinking about walking as a way forward might help.  Of course, if you do have mobility or other health issues it is very important you seek medical advice from your GP or other health professional who is involved in your care and treatment.

As spring emerges and the days get longer, we thought it would be a good time to remind everyone of all the great areas in Gateshead for walking. Despite being on Tyneside a lot of Gateshead is in Greenbelt and tips into the counties of Northumberland and Durham. Thanks to its industrial past there are many areas with reclaimed and improved sites that have been turned into walking paths, country parks and accessible areas of nature, right on your doorstep, where ever you live in the borough.

There might be a local walking group organised in your area- worth checking out if you prefer some company and encouragement. Your local library or community hub might have some information, or try an internet search. For the more ambitious walker who has got the bug, the Ramblers Association has many local groups in the area that organise walks locally and in the region.

Some tips to bare in mind for walking:

  1. Decent walking shoes- it is always sensible to have comfortable, practical shoes on for walking- everyone will have their own requirements but it might be worth considering having your feet measured again, checking out buying some shoes just for walking- preferably with a good grip, water resistant/proof, for example- but everyone has their own preference and needs.
  2. Take water and a snack with you – if you are out for a longer walk it is always a good idea to have a bottle of water and a snack.
  3. Prepare for the weather- you might be put off by a change in weather- check before the forecast but have suitable clothing, e.g., – a warm jacket, a light waterproof. If it is a sunny day, a hat and sunscreen should be used to protect from the heat and sun damage.
  4. Plan ahead - check your route – you might be familiar with local areas but if you are trying a new place it is worth finding out about accessibility and how long a walk should take. Some walking paths are very clearly signposted and accessible. Some others will not be so clearly marked so it is always important to research where you are going and what the route is.

Below are links to Gateshead Council’s information and the Ramblers Association.

Countryside sites and country parks - Gateshead Council

Gateshead - Ramblers