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Wednesday 1 February 2023

Walk into Style

 & #WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton, a keen walker, in all weather waterproof jacket and walking shoes from Cotton Traders

Dear friends. Happy February! Regular readers will know I do a lot of walking. I'm very keen to encourage more people to take up walking and enjoy the health benefits. I was thrilled when Cotton Traders asked me to join their Walk Into Style campaign to show how bright pops of colour can liven up a winter walking wardrobe.

The Benefits of Walking

  • Women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20%, and by 40% when they step up the pace, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston
  • Studies found that women, ages 50 to 75, who took one-hour morning walks, were more likely to relieve insomnia than women who didn’t walk
  • Walking releases natural pain ­killing endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise. A California State University, Long Beach, study showed that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods were. 
  • A study of 6,000 women, ages 65 and older, performed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more. The women walking 2.5 miles per day had a 17% decline in memory, as opposed to a 25% decline in women who walked less than a half-mile per week.
  • You don't need to walk a long distance to enjoy the health benefits. A brisk short walk each day makes you 33% less likely to die of heart disease. Researchers from University of Sydney found that people who engaged in three or four short bursts of exercise a day, lasting 4 - 5 minutes, were less likely to develop heart disease.

Getting Started

If you're new to walking, I'd recommend signing up for the free Walk 1000 Miles Challenge. It sounds a lot, but broken down it's just over 2.5 miles a day. It's good to have something to aim towards, and there's a very friendly FB group. Starting in February is fine, you would finish next February (or whenever you complete 1000 miles). 

To track your mileage, most fitness trackers are ideal, or there's a free option for those in the UK from the NHS, Active 10, an app that tracks all your steps. 

You don't need any special equipment to get started. Training or walking shoes and a waterproof anorak are enough, with SPF and a hat in the summer. 

Once you get the walking bug you can start buying  equipment and clothes that will help you walk in all weathers. 

My Walking Journey

I didn't do much walking until 2012 when we first visited the Lake District. At that time I was going to the gym and considered myself fairly fit, but I found the long and steep walks in the Lakes a challenge. I started training by walking in advance of our holidays.  In 2015 we "conquered" Snowdon, the second highest mountain in the UK. We've done most of the biggies in the Lakes: Helvellyn, Blethcathra, Skiddaw.

During lock down, I started walking every day.  I live just 10 minutes from Epping Forest and have several different routes I follow.  These days I go to the gym more often so I don't walk every day.  Instead I look for opportunities to add walking to my routine, and go on long walks at the weekend.

I look forward to my walks and it doesn't matter if it's snowing or raining. There's no such as bad weather when you're wearing the right clothes. I do walk in all conditions, and find it exhilarating. I listen to podcasts when I walk alone, and have a ridiculous hat to cover my headphones when it's raining. 

I still set myself goals. Last year I started picking up the pace of my walks. I succeeded in walking 1500 miles in 2021. I walk with a MeetUp group in London once or twice a month. We will be going to the Lakes for a week in early summer. 

What I Like to Wear

On a normal winter's day, when it's dry but chilly, I wear a base layer or gym top, sweatshirt/fleece and a light soft shell jacket, plus jeans and walking boots with walkers' socks. I soon warm up and sometimes take off the fleece.

If it's a colder day, I wear a thicker insulated jacket and add a hat, wrist warmers, scarf and fleece lined trousers.

In the summer, a jacket is rarely needed and I'll often wear shorts.  As our UK weather is unpredictable, I carry a very light rain jacket that can be rolled up. 

An all weather jacket like this one from Cotton Traders is a good all year round buy.  In winter I'd be happy to wear it with a top and fleece underneath, and on warmer spring days it will be perfect with just a top underneath.  

Liven up your winter walking with colourful pieces from Cotton Traders. Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in all weather waterproof jacket and walking shoes

"Base layers" and technical fleeces or hoodies are made of materials which allow wicking and temperature control. Here I'm wearing a base layer top in size medium from Cotton Traders, plus their extremely warm and cosy fleece lined waterproof trousers in size small, 29 leg.

Walking Poles and Rucksacks

I have a dodgy knee so walking poles are a must for me in the Lake District, mainly for descending the very steep hills.  

A rucksack is a must for a day's walking, to carry your water, lunch and some essentials like sun protection, hat, sunglasses. 

Choosing Boots or Shoes 

You can buy a perfectly satisfactory pair of walking shoes or boots for around £50.  I've been using Cotton Traders' Hydroguard Panel Detail Walking Shoes for my walks around Epping Forest (when it's very muddy I tend to wear wellingtons!). You can save £10 on these at the moment. They didn't give me blisters and they're very easy to pull on, plus waterproof. 

If you're planning serious amounts of walking, and in hilly areas, I'd recommend walking boots because of the ankle support they give when walking over boulders and in boggy ground. 

Finding Walks

Walking is a joyful business! Imagine a perfect summer's day and feeling like you're on top of the world as you survey the miles below you from the top of a very high ridge. Imagine soaking your tired feet in a babbling brook at the end of a walk.  Imagine pristine snow crunching under your footsteps. The wonder of finding a tea room in the middle of nowhere. Or warming yourself in front of a roaring fire in a pub. All these things we have enjoyed. 

If you live in an area where the walking is mainly urban, it can still be fascinating watching the passing of the seasons. I love looking at people's gardens and tracking the changes. 

There are plenty of walks to be found online and walking holidays too. Here are some of our favourite walking pictures. Top left: summit of Snowdon, which like many summits is VERY busy! We had to queue for our summit picture.  Bottom left: Cat Bells is ahead. 

I hope I've inspired you to get outside! Are you a keen walker?  Any tips to share? Do tell in the comments. 

Disclosure: I was gifted with four items of walking clothes/shoes by Cotton Traders in return for a blog post. My posts are always researched and objective. 

Sharing this post with: On Mondays We Link Up at Glass of Glam, Weekday Wear at Away from the Blue#AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Rena at Fine WhateverTurning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Confident Twosday at I Do Declaire, Style with a Smile at StylesplashTalent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling BoomerChic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #SpreadTheKindness  and #Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge,  Thursday Fashion Files at Doused in Pink, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style,  Traffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Fabulous Fridays at Lucy Bertoldi,

It's #WowOnWednesday Time! 

Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday.  Bloggers, Instagrammers and YouTubers are invited to share new and evergreen content. 

Last Week's Favourites

 Kellyann from This Blonde's Shopping Bag with Purchases I Regret  (we all have a few of those!). On the left, a jacket she regrets buying, and on the right, similar color but in a style that suits her much better. 
Jill from Doused in Pink on How to Style a Poncho This Winter: 

Is This Mutton Non-Fashion Favourite

A Very, Very Veganuary from Amber at The Hungry Mountaineer. The rising cost of fuel for their 20 year old motor home has prompted Amber to prioritize vegan eating over meat to ensure their travels can continue. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. Interesting read Gail. Love your picks too. Cotton Traders have some super bits xx a jacqui x

  2. Well, didn't I colour up your link up party....... lol. We want to go to the Lake District, or looks so beautiful there.


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