START TRAINING

TAKE THE FIRST STEP ON YOUR JOURNEY TO BETTER MENTAL HEALTH TODAY

WALKING INTO BETTER HEALTH

The training program has been designed to help build your fitness, which in turn will improve your health and wellbeing. We have developed a customised walking program to suit any fitness level and combined it with stretching, strengthening and mindset exercises to help you feel both mentally and physically stronger.

HOW DOES WALKING HELP?

  • reduces stress and anxiety
  • boosts ‘feel good’ chemicals
  • improves self perception & self esteem
  • increases relaxation

  • improves your quality of sleep

  • gets you away from a screen

“Something as simple as joining an outdoor walking group will not only improve someone’s positive emotions but may also contribute a non-pharmacological approach to serious conditions like depression.

Research confirms the benefits of walking as a way to improve and maintain our overall health, both mental and physical, and it’s easier to get fitter in the body, mind and spirit when we walk with someone else.”

Dr Lars Madsen, Clinical Psychologist, The MindShift Foundation

BEFORE BEGINNING YOUR TRAINING

1. SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE

Please seek professional advice if you have a medical condition prior to beginning the training program. If any movements or exercises produce pain, difficulty breathing or you become unwell, we ask that you STOP immediately and see health advice.

2. DIFFERENT PROGRAM COMPONENTS

It is important to understand the different elements that make up the program and why they have been included. You can access your program resources in your profile dashboard set up when you registered.

WALKING

To increase general fitness and improve mental wellbeing

STRETCHING

To reduce chance of injury during training or on challenge

STRENGTHENING

To prepare for long distances of the challenge and injury prevention

TALKING

To maintain human connection and build strong support networks

MINDFULNESS

To decrease stress, anxiety and depression and help navigate our world

HYDRATION

To improve sleep quality, mood, energy levels and brain performance

3. UNDERSTAND THE TERMINOLOGY

Here’s a breakdown of some of the terms you will find written in the program.

TERMDEFINITION
Reps (Repetitions)The number of times the exercise should be repeated.
SetsThe number of times the entire group of exercises should be repeated.
Hill WalkingIncline walking of at least 50m elevation.
Static StretchingStretching where you are standing, sitting or lying and holding a single position for a defined amount of time.
Dynamic StretchingThe muscle itself brings about the stretch with your specific movement.
Walking IntensityHelps determine how fast to walk.

4. SET GOALS & RECORD YOUR EFFORTS

Setting goals is an effective way to increase motivation and to help you to create the changes you want. It helps align your focus and sustain the momentum to continue through to challenge day.

There are numerous goals you can set throughout the program.

  • the accumulated number of kilometers you will walk while training for the challenge. Use Strava to record your activity and link it to your dashboard or run a group challenge. The free version will be fine for all your needs.

  • increase you water consumption and work on staying hydrated. Start by trying to drink one glass per day and then each week increase by another 0.5 -1 glass per day.

  • print out the checklist for each program cycle and leave it on your fridge. Make sure you tick off each item as you complete it.

5. STAY CONNECTED

Human connection is the foundation of our entire program. Have a chat as a team and work out ways you can stay connected and support each other along your journey. Some ideas include:

  • set up a group chat and make a time to check in with your team mates.

  • make a time once a week to walk together (during lockdown this could be walking at the same time while chatting via phone).

  • join the GAH Community Group and provide support and motivation for other participants and teams.

6. RECOVERY TECHNIQUES

Your recovery techniques should include, but are not limited to:

  • cooling down properly

  • stretching / foam rolling

  • contrast (hot and cold) showers

  • massage

  • active recovery (going for a walk the next day)

  • hydration and good nutrition for recovery

7. TIPS AND TRICKS

  • chat with team mates while walking – it helps the distance pass by faster. If you can’t catch up in person, organise to speak by phone while you both walk.
  • listen to music (but make sure you can still hear surrounding traffic) – the GAH crew have put together some awesome playlists or make a list of your favourite podcasts to work through.

  • feeling stiff and/or sore while walking – stop for a minute, have a rest, stretch for a minute and then continue.

  • stay hydrated – even mild dehydration can affect you mentally and physically. Carry a drink bottle with water or aqualyte.

  • strengthen your low back – clench your abdominal muscles for short intervals while walking.

  • activate your calves – while walking, roll from heel to toe to activate the full muscle group.

  • clear your space – make sure you have adequate space to complete stretching and strengthening programs in. Remove all hazards that you could hit, knock or trip over.

  • ensure you train within your own limits – keep referring back to the walk intensity chart.

  • STOP if you are in pain – or if you feel unwell. Seek professional help.

  • general muscle fatigue is okay – you may also experience delayed onset of muscle soreness following a training session. Practice your recovery techniques to prepare for the next training session.