On Saturday 21st June to Sunday the 22nd, the British Heart Foundation’s annual London to Brighton trek takes place. The event is a testing 64 mile trek across various terrain from London’s Sandown Park Racecourse, to Brighton Racecourse. Over the course of 30 hours, participants will walk through the day and night to complete the challenge. The event takes place in order to raise money for those suffering heart problems. Each year, the money raised goes towards such causes and over the past few decades survival rates have increased dramatically with the introduction of new technologies thanks to the funding the BHF receives. In 1961, children born with a heart defect had only a 20% chance of surviving their first birthday, today it’s 80%.
The trek is approximately 64 miles or 105km, with 1026m of climbing. The route is challenging and pushes participants to new levels when night falls as they have to continue to navigate the route with limited lighting and cooler temperatures. The first 20 miles of the route is relatively flat with some steady inclines between 20 and 30 miles into the route. Between the 30 and 45 mile mark, there is a steady decline and onto flat ground to take walkers to the 50 mile point. At 50 miles participants will experience the largest incline at approximately 150m in 1 mile. This is followed by a 5 mile coastal walk to view the scenery and promenade at Hove and Brighton and to complete the trek there’s another large incline to the finish line.
The BHF have supplied a detailed training plan for those taking part which sets out training routines for each week in the build up to the event. There is lots of advice regarding equipment and food/water supplies that walkers should have during the event. Participants are advised to have support drivers who can pick them up if they drop out or meet them at checkpoints for extra supplies. Each checkpoint will have water supplies and some have snacks or shops to stock up on food. At the halfway point hikers will be given a hot meal and along the way there will be various places to use the toilets. In the route maps supplied by the BHF walkers are advised what time they need to leave each checkpoint by in order to complete the walk in the recommended time. Walkers should finish the event by 2pm on the Sunday.
Although walking is an every day activity for many people, intense walks or hikes require a good amount of training and use of correct equipment. Finding the right pair of walking boots is key to success and other equipment such as waterproofs, layers and rucksacks should be used to enhance performance and ensure comfort during such hikes. More information can be found on the BHF website and although entries for this years trek have now closed, next years event should open shortly for people to sign up.
FieldandTrek.com have a vast selection of walking clothing and accessories, these can be found online at http://www.fieldandtrek.com/walking.
As people age they will lose muscle and bone mass and are at risk of developing problems such as back pain, osteoarthritis or osteoporosis. The rate of muscle loss can be slowed down by regular exercise, something many older people stop doing as they age. Regular exercise can also increase balance and mobility thus reducing the risk of accidents related to balance within older people. Various research shows that gentle exercise can improve health, contrary to older beliefs that only vigorous exercise could improve a persons health and fitness levels. As people age, they naturally become less able and athletic, but by no means should this stop people from continuing with regular exercise. Here FieldandTrek.com takes a look at how to stay fit as an older person and the health benefits of doing so.
The longer a person stays inactive for, the more problems they are at risk of developing. Joints may seize up and muscle will slowly deteriorate, making a person more unable and less mobile as time goes on. Being active as an older person doesn’t necessarily mean joining a gym or taking up a sport, it can be as simple as everyday tasks such as pottering in the garden, gentle bending to deweed or a walk around the garden watering plants offers a short burst of activity that will benefit an older person. Washing the car or taking a short walk around nearby lanes is an easy way to get the heart pumping a little faster and to use muscles that don’t get used as often as they used to.
For those with conditions such as high blood pressure, exercises such as swimming can be a gentle way of lowering blood pressure and improving overall stress levels and mood. There are four main things in which exercise can benefit for an older person, these include stamina, being able to walk longer distance or exercise for longer. Strength, carrying shopping, walking up and down stairs, opening things such as stiff jars. Flexibility to help bend when getting dressed or picking up things and balance to help walking and climbing stairs or avoiding falls. These vital abilities are easy to maintain if a person is fit enough. As mentioned previously as you age gentle exercise will help with every day tasks and there is no need to take up vigorous exercise as this will more than likely cause more damage than good.
Staying fit and healthy is important at any age, and especially as a person starts to become less able at everyday tasks. It is advised to seek medical attention prior to taking up a new form of exercise to ensure there are no precautions that need to be taken. There is a great range of exercise equipment and accessories available to use around the house on a daily basis in order to maintain a regular exercise regime, such as small stress balls ideal for arthritis sufferers.
Visit http://www.fieldandtrek.com/walking for FieldandTrek.com’s full range of walking gear.
Walking is an everyday activity for most people and requires little thought or effort, unlike other forms of exercise. According to Britain’s most comprehensive survey of sport, 22% of the population walk recreationally for at least 30 minutes every month. Walking is a fantastic way for people of all ages to keep fit and healthy and get outdoors.
The 26th April marks the start of the Bristol Walking Festival, held for one month until 26th May. The festival is an opportunity for walkers to explore the city and get fit outdoors. There will be over 150 different walks to choose from across the 30 day event thanks to over 70 organisations and individuals involved in making the event possible.
Some of the routes throughout the walking festival are themed and will be educational to those taking part. Each route is a chance to explore different parts of the city, showcasing some interesting and educational landmarks throughout. A few walks available are Medieval Bristol, Avon Gorge Birding Walk, Foraging Edible Foods, Butterfly Spotting on the Downs, Night Walk, Bristol Onions and Gorgeous Goats and Bristol in Books, to name just a few.
Not only does the festival give walkers from the local area and across the country the chance to explore the hidden corners of Bristol and learn about the history and heritage of the city, it is a fantastic excuse to get some fresh air and exercise. With many of the walks averaging between 1-5 miles, although there are much longer walks, each route is graded 1-4 depending on its intensity, so walkers can choose which route they feel they are capable of completing. Walking is a great way to lose weight and stay fit, it helps keep bones and joints flexible and boosts the immune system which in turn helps reduce the risk of serious illness. The event is a great way of meeting new people and each walk will have its own walking leader to guide the group around the city.
As there are many walks to take part in, with a variety of intensity and challenges walkers should prepare for the event by walking short distances and building up to the number of miles they plan to accomplish in the event, to ensure they are fit enough on the day. For the longer and more challenging walks especially, it is advised that walkers wear appropriate footwear and clothing. This can be weather dependant so layers and waterproofs are a good idea. Trail shoes or walking boots are ideal footwear as they are designed for different types of terrain and offer the correct support to the walker.
To take part in any of the events you can find out more information on each route and the starting places and times through Bristol City Council. The festival is a free event, however some walks require a participation fee as they involve a guided tour or activity.
Visit http://www.fieldandtrek.com/walking for FieldandTrek.com’s full selection of trail shoes and walking boots.
Each year there is an abundance of charity walks and events that take place up and down the country in hope to raise money and awareness for specific causes, and they are growing in number per annum. A report conducted by JustGiving and ACTIVE Network last year revealed that event fundraising had increased by 8% in 2012 and since 2007 the amount of participants had doubled.
According to the report, the events that raise the most money are treks, triathlons, cycles, parachute events, swims, runs and walks. Some of those activities, such as parachuting or taking part in a triathlon or a cycling event, require a certain skill, fitness or braveness, where as charity walk is something that is more accessible, to most.
Many different charities such as the Rotary Foundation, Cancer Research, Red Cross and the British Heart Foundation, to name just a few, all put on charity walks varying in distances from one mile to twenty six, meaning that people can choose a route that suits them.
The majority of people who participate in charity walks are not experienced walkers and so although walking may not be as challenging or strenuous as cycling or running, it is still important to train prior to the event. The amount of preparation beforehand generally depends on the distance of the walk, for example people who are hoping to take part in a half marathon should begin planning two months or so before the walk, where as people opting for a full marathon should look at beginning training six months before.
Having the correct footwear and clothing is also important. Walking shoes or running trainers are advisable as they offer ventilation, comfort and support, it is also best to bed them in during training sessions so as not to be suffering with blisters around the course. Walkers are also advised to layer up with breathable t-shirts followed by fleeces, hoodies or jackets that are lightweight and easy to tie round the waist or stuff into a backpack.
Walkers should also ensure to keep hydrated throughout, so a large water bottle or even an hydration pack, depending on the length of the walk, is a necessity. It is also advised to drink plenty of water beforehand.
FieldandTrek.com have a vast selection of walking footwear, clothing and accessories, these can be found online at http://www.fieldandtrek.com/walking. Join in on the conversation at www.Facebook.com/FieldandTrekUK or www.Twitter.com/FieldandTrekUK
GPS’s and navigation systems are undoubtedly very useful, not only for everyday life, but also for scientific advancements and tracking. With this in mind there are therefore many reasons why we love GPS’s,
FieldandTrek.com take a look at some of their special features.
With scientists using them to determine the size of an earthquake and biologists using them to track animals through migrations the navigation system has come a long way since it was first used as part of a project of the U.S. military in 1978. Now, they are part of everyday life with people all over the World using them in cars and on foot to help plan and direct their route.
There are a wide range of GPS’s available on the market that all have various qualities and specialist features to help make life easier. An increasing amount of walkers are now using GPS’s, and although some people speculate that this will stop people from learning key compass and map reading skills, when used appropriately they can be very useful and contrary to popular belief, they still require navigation skills.
The Garmin GPSMAP 62s is ideal for serious adventurers. Featuring a durable and waterproof shell, this GPS boasts a 3-axis tilt-compensated compass to ensure precision, coupled with a built-in worldwide basemap with plenty of memory to store 200 maps. This navigation system also benefits from area calculation, sun and moon information, photo navigation and automatic routing.
Suitable for casual walkers and adventurers, the Memory Map Adventurer 2800 comes with a 2GB micro SD card with pre-loaded Ordnance Survey® Land Ranger® maps of selected British National Parks. This GPS also benefits from Memory-Map PC software for route planning and map printing.
Geocaching is the perfect family activity and for families that are new to the new-age treasure hunting then the Garmin eTrex 10 Geocaching Bundle is ideal. The device is waterproof and has a battery life of up to 25hours, coupled with a Worldwide basemap and sensitive GPS receiver with HotFix and GLONASS support. The kit comes with all the necessities to ensure that the geocaching adventure can start straight away.
Recent reports from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland have announced that wearing cotton clothing poses serious risks to suffering from hypothermia when out trekking in the winter. With this in mind, Fieldandtrek.com take a look at what mountaineers, expeditionists and serious walkers should wear during the bitter months.
The main reason why cotton is not a suitable fabric for winter activities is because as soon as it begins to rain, snow or gets a little wet, its insulation properties no longer exist, causing the skin to cool down very quickly. This in turn could cause hypothermia.
When out walking in harsh weather conditions it is vital to be prepared and wear the correct clothing. Many waterproof and breathable items are constructed from modern polymers and laminated with a polymer membrane called polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) and polyurethane, so always check before purchasing waterproofs that they are constructed with these materials. When it comes to waterproofing and fabric being breathable it is also best to look out for jackets and trousers with eVent® or GORE-TEX® properties as they work to wick away any moisture.
In terms of insulation, microfleeces are much more insulated than a normal fleece, which is crucial when out in the snow or facing tough conditions. Down fabric, whether it’s goose or duck, is also desirable as it aims to retain both warm air and cold to ensure a comfortable temperature.
On a whole, synthetic materials are lightweight, strong and durable which is everything that is required from outdoor clothing. However, nylon is not the best option when it comes to protection in the outdoors. Although it is lightweight, tough and keeps water from seeping through, it also doesn’t allow any moisture to escape. Therefore, any sweat that builds up on the inside will stay there which won’t be very comfortable.
Wearing waterproof, breathable and well insulated clothing may seem like common sense, but sometimes it can be overlooked and wearing the wrong materials could pose serious health risks.
Valentines Day is just around the corner and with shops and online stores bursting with gift ideas, FieldandTrek.com take a look at a more subtle way to share the love this month – a romantic walk.
Many people spend a fortune on presents, cards and going out for meals on Valentines Day, but going for an idyllic walk promises just as much romance as any of the above. Rather than being crammed into a busy restaurant, a peaceful walk somewhere in the dales, for example, offers a more intimate and cherished atmosphere.
Bath is well known for its beauty and iconic history, including the Roman Baths, and offers stunning walks, both planned and unplanned. The Cotswold Way National Trail offers over 100 miles of stunning scenery with journeys through small villages and famous historic sites to choose from.
The Malvern Hills divide the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire and at their high points offer picturesque views for miles. Worcestershire is also home to the UK’s best-known rivers; the Severn and Avon, a gentle stroll along the Severn Valley will see the Holt Castle and Church as well as the beautiful countryside.
A trip to Dorset to walk along Durdle Door or White Nothe will provide an abundance of romance thanks to the coastal views and arches carved by the sea. If the weather is okay then a walk along the beach or through the coves would be a real treat.
For people who love nature as much as they do their partner then the Bodnant Gardens in north Wales is perfect. Owned by the National Trust, the gardens boasts stiles, kissing gates and wooden gates along the path which are perfect for stopping and admiring the views.
North Yorkshire is home to some breath-taking sights, and the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal offer just that. The Abbey and Water Garden estates boast a tranquil and romantic setting thanks to the ponds, statues and temples as well as the river from the Abbey.
There are many benefits to using walking poles. Walking poles provide better balance, help you establish a rhythm, decrease stress on the legs as well as making difficult walking patches easier and safer.
There are four types of walking poles. Anti-shock walking poles feature internal springs to absorb walking shock. Standard poles are simple poles that are cheaper and lighter. Compact poles can be used by children as they are shorter and have smaller grips. The compact poles can also be packed easier. Nordic poles are used for full body workout walking.
There are two main types of material used to make walking poles, these are aluminium and carbon fibre. Aluminium walking poles are generally stronger and more economical, but they are heavier. Carbon fibre walking poles are lighter and more expensive. However, they can break and splinter due to stress.
It’s important that you are able to change the poles to fit your height and the terrain. In order to change the height of the poles, you need to use the locking systems. The two main types of locking mechanisms are screw and lever locks. The screw locks work by twisting the pole to tighten the adjuster. The lever locks have small levers that clamp against the poles.
With three types of grips, there are different shapes and feels of pole grips to suit you. There are cork, foam and rubber pole grips available. Rubber grips insulate from cold, shock and vibrations during cold-weather activities, however they can cause chaffing and blistering if you are walking in warm weather. Foam grips absorbs moisture. The cork grips resist moisture, decreases vibration and conforms to your grip.
Other features to consider when choosing a walking, hiking or trekking pole is the price, wrist straps, baskets and pole tips.
You can see and hear wonderful things while you are walking in Britain, but the top worldwide walking trips will give you a new perspective on the country you are walking in and the world. Check out the world’s top walking trips by FieldandTrek.com.
Great Wall of China (China): Stretching 2700 miles, the Great Wall of China was built over 2000 years ago to protect China’s northern border. The walk is a five day trek covering approximately 12 km a day through mountains and valleys.
Pembrokeshire Coat Path (Wales): This 180 mile trail that runs along the Pembrokeshire coastline passes by beautiful beaches and cliffs.
Everest Base Camp (Nepal): This world renowned expedition takes hikers through Sherpa land to meet the world’s highest mountain at Kala Pattar at the height of 5,545m.
Cinque Terre (Italy): Ideal for the person who loves to eat during a walking trip, the Cinque Terre goes through five of Italy’s coastal cities, sandy beaches and dirt paths.
GR20 (Corsica): The GR20 is a 15 day trek through the diverse landscapes of Corsica. The trail is a tough one with rocky paths, steep trails and rickety bridges.
The Narrows (USA): The 16 mile trek in the Narrows of the Zion National Park is a day to two day journey through canyons. The walk involves wading and swimming in the Virgin River.
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· Walking is an ideal form of cardio-vascular exercise for pregnant women. You can get fresh air and keep yourself fit. Exercise during pregnancy can also result in fewer pregnancy complaints and less weight gain.
· During pregnancy, feet and ankles can swell which means you may need to get bigger walking shoe sizes so the walking shoes can provide support to the arches of the feet and ankles. The hormones during pregnancy can cause a relaxing in ligaments which can result in foot strain, you should consult a doctor should this occur.
· If you exercised before you were pregnant, you can do moderate exercise for a maximum of 30 minutes four times a week, according to the NHS. However, if you weren’t active before the pregnancy, the NHS advises to do light exercise for 15 minutes three times a week.
· Due to the pregnancy, your centre of gravity has shifted, therefore walk slowly to begin with.
· Ensure you have good posture to prevent backache while you walk by standing straight, keeping your eyes forward, suck in your stomach and keeping your chin parallel to the ground.
· The main risk with hiking or walking comes from falls. Beginner trails are ideal for experienced hikers in early pregnancy. Local parks also have walking trails.
· You should stop walking if you experience dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, pain or bleeding.
· It is very important to never push your body to the point of exhaustion. If you start to feel tired, stop walking.
· Remember that weather can affect pregnant mothers more so ensure you are dressed appropriately for the weather. If the weather is too warm or too cold, consider going to a shopping centre to walk around.
· To avoid the altitude sickness, a pregnant mother should not walk at heights over 2,500m above sea level until you have become acclimatised.
· It is important during exercise that a pregnant mother stays hydrated.
· If there are pregnancy complications ranging from high blood pressure to preterm labour, you shouldn’t go walking.