After all, what could be more straightforward, than simply getting wrapped up, opening your front door and getting some fresh air in your lungs, whether you live in city, town or countryside.
It’s easy, it’s free, and it offers a simple way out if you’re starting to feel trapped and weighed down by too much TV and mince pies.
There are some sensible essentials to consider: good walking shoes, or at least comfortable and waterproof trainers; a waterproof jacket for when the weather turns Welsh; some fluids to keep you hydrated; and if you’re heading out after dark then stick to well-lit areas or wear some reflective clothing.
The rest is up to you. It can be a speed walk to offer some strenuous activity – as little as 15 minutes done at a pace that burns calories – or a two-hour stroll to build endurance or simply offer time to unwind.
The NHS website page, Walking for Health (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/walking-for-health/) suggests a walking speed of 3 mph – slightly faster than a stroll – will bring most health benefits.
A recent study this month published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine used data from people who had worn activity monitors to objectively track how much they moved and sat.
The researchers concluded that the sweet spot for physical activity and longevity seemed to arrive at about 35 minutes a day of brisk walking, or other moderate activities, an amount that led to the greatest statistical improvement in life span, no matter how many hours someone sat.
Variety in walking is the key to making it enjoyable and repeatable. Vary the route, mix up the duration and intensity and use it occasionally as an opportunity to explore.
Online maps and apps can provide not only route planning for regular footpaths, but websites such as rowmaps.com can show rights of way in your local area that you may not know even existed.
Researchers in Austria in 2017 discovered that most people find outdoor walking less strenuous than walking indoors on a treadmill, even when the distances and gradient were identical.