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Make The Break At Lunch

BEARING IN mind that John Cleese immortalised the Ministry of Silly Walks, the Government's campaign could do worse than start close to home, writes Mark Rowe.

It's not without irony that the two departments with most to gain are headed by ministers who could do with heeding their own advice: the rotund figures of Frank Dobson and John Prescott.

Most office workers probably already clock up around a mile of walking while at work - to and from the tea bar and the smoking room. Unfortunately, all that caffeine and nicotine is likely to outweigh any benefits to your arteries.

You don't need to go far: start by using your lunch hour (you can walk up to three miles an hour) to stroll to local parks. After a while you'll be ready to expose yourself to the wilds of the British countryside.

There you will meet retired couples striding along in an intimidating manner and the Racing Green brigade, the stylish high earners with silly gadgets. In between are the "Fleecies", usually young couples who have long given up worrying about style.

A final warning: it is the custom in the countryside to say hello to strangers, something which will make the average city dweller uncomfortable. But don't try this at home as you will probably be arrested.

COOL ESSENTIALS: Fold-away water bottle, large socks, boots, Jaffa cakes, Wainright's guide to the Southern Fells.

LEAVE BEHIND: Whistle, bobble hats, tin-foil lunches, high heels, hardback edition of Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods.