Cartier Masthead Final Weeks

Walking five ways

Kirra Rankin

How often do you walk?

Is it time for a change?

Five years ago I wrote an article for Her Canberra on the benefits of walking, and how to get started.

Five years on, all of the information within the article still rings true, which is unheard of in the health and wellness industry. Many of us understand that walking is a great form of medicine. It’s time efficient, cost effective, enjoyable and great for our physical body and mindfulness.  My best business ideas have all been created during a walk/ralk (run-walk) – and if I’m ever stumped with an important business decision, after I go for a walk I can make the right choice, without being overwhelmed.

We are all different.  We have different bodies, different time availabilities, different values and different motives & goals.  Below, I have five different programs – do you fit into one of them?


Ok, you have a busy schedule, but you’re still wanting to look after your body and mind.  Got it.   Try this 15 minute Ralking (run/walk) session at lunch (or before work, to get those good endorphins pumping). It won’t make you sweat too much, just enough to give you energy, so you won’t look like a beetroot in your next meeting. Time required: 15 minutes.

  • 5 min walk warm up,
  • 50m jog + 5 push ups (on knees) x 5
  • 20m jog + 2 conscious breaths while holding a squat x 5
  • 3 mins walk warm down


We’ve all been there.  Everything gets to be too much – you would do anything to have a relaxed calm mind. Sounds like you need to go find yourself some nature, away from traffic, disruptions, chaos and people.  Lucky you live in Canberra where there are plenty of mountains surrounding us. Time required: one hour minimum.

Things to think about while you’re out there clearing your head:

  • Relax your jaw.
  • Relax your fingers.
  • When the unnecessary/unproductive/negative thoughts start creeping back into your head, acknowledge it, and let it go again. Repeat.
  • Breathe in for 2 seconds, out for 4 seconds.
  • Concentrate on the sound of your foot steps.
  • Focus on the wildlife noises around you.
  • Relax your fingers again.
  • Relax your jaw again. Repeat.


Exercise increases your energy levels and releases endorphins.  We need to start with small, regular bouts of exertion.  I’d suggest booking in with your doctor first to see if there’s anything nasty underlying (eg: low iron, chronic fatigue, lupus, heart disease or other chronic diseases, & other systemic conditions).  If this is the case, then the current research shows that it’s important to keep moving.  Choose low-impact aerobic activities such as swimming, hydrotherapy, deep water running, riding a stationary bike to get your heart rate elevated without damaging your body. If you have the all clear from your doctor, start out with a 10 minute walk for the first couple of weeks (6 days a week).  Once your heart rate is under control (around 120 beats per minute), then work your way up to a longer duration (add 2 minutes each week).


You’re time poor, and need to fill your day with positive, powerful, fulfilling, meaningful, motivating information to inspire you.  Sounds like you need a good podcast or ebook. These are my favourites to exercise to:

  • Bringing out the Best in People  – Audrey Daniels
  • Who – Geoff Smart and Randy Street
  • Traction – Get a Grip on Your Business.
  • Ownership Thinking – Brad Hams.
  • Simple Numbers – Greg Crabtree

The trick here is to still get a cardiovascular benefit and stretch those tight hip flexors out.  I’d recommend wearing a heartrate monitor and keep your heartrate above 120 beats per minute; maybe even throw in some two minute surges every five minutes (and get your heart rate up to 130-140 beats per minute!).


If you are motivated to get that weight off, and motivated to start walking, then you’re miles in front of most people!  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  I’d recommend starting flat, on the grass to off load your joints, and get some new comfortable supportive walking shoes before you start.  I’d also recommend going to your local pool, and walk in the shallow end every second day, instead of loading your joints up every day.  Here’s a little program:

  • Monday: 15 mins flat grass walk and stretch
  • Tuesday – walk in the pool for 25mins
  • Wednesday – 20mins flat grass walk and stretch
  • Thursday – Deep Water Running at your local pool (totally off load your joints, and get your cardiovascular system pumping!)
  • Friday –Day off
  • Saturday – 25 mins flat grass walk , different direction to during the week
  • Sunday – Pool or land based – depending on how your joints are feeling

Do you fit into one of these programs?

For more tips and to keep up with Kirra, visit the Capital Hydrotherapy Facebook page.


Kirra Rankin

Kirra Rankin is the owner and innovator of Capital Hydrotherapy in Deakin and Majura Park. Kirra is a Rehabilitation Exercise Physiologist with additional qualifications in Massage therapy, Coaching (Level II) and Pilates. She is also the founder of Animalates ("Pilates for children with an animal theme") which is a children's movement program now based in London. Kirra loves being creative with her exercise programming, & enjoys thinking outside the box - making the impossible, possible... More about the Author

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