Walking is a great way to strengthen muscles and increase fitness, but how far and how fast should you go?

Trudi Scott, Specialist Physiotherapist in Pulmonary Hypertension, explains how to pace yourself and how to recognise your limits.  

Walking is great way of getting fitter, and it can be done at your own pace and with friends or family.

Walking is an exercise which can strengthen your muscles and increase your fitness. You may also walk on a daily basis to complete activities such as going to the shops.

How you are walking depends on how hard you should push yourself. If you are completing day-to-day activities, we would suggest that you pace yourself so as not to become too short of breath. This means walking at a slow pace where you don’t feel out of breath at all.

When walking to exercise, you should aim to feel short of breath but still be able to talk to a friend, even if it’s in broken sentences. Slow down if you are feeling too short of breath.

Varying your pace can help you manage your breathlessness and this is better than stopping to rest.

It’s a good idea to walk with someone until you feel confident with how short of breath you should feel whilst walking. Once you feel comfortable, you should try walking by yourself and use your breathlessness as a guide.