There are plenty of good reasons to take walking seriously. It
is a great way of exercising without really noticing it! It
requires no equipment or expense and can be built into your
everyday routine. There are benefits to your health, your wealth
and your happiness! Here are some specific reasons....
- Regular exercise can halve the risk of coronary heart disease
which is the single most common cause of death for men and women in
- Regular exercise can reduce high blood pressure and the risk of
having a stroke.
- Exercise can also significantly reduce the chance of developing
Type 2 diabetes; it can contribute to stregthening your bones and
heart and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Walking will improve your balance, co-ordination and joint
flexibility which is especially noticeable in later life.
- Walking just one mile can burn up at least 100kcal and walking
two miles a day three times a week can help reduce weight by one
pound every three weeks.
- Walking is entirely free!
- Walking is often quicker and does not involve traffic hold ups
or time spent looking for a parking space.
- Walking is a great way to meet new people and make
- Walking is a good opportunity to spend time with your
- Going for a walk is a proven way of combating depression and
helping to reduce anxiety and stress.
- Walking will increase your energy levels and make you look
- Walking will help you to sleep better.
- Lifelong exercise has been shown to reduce the chances of
developing Alzheimer's disease.
If that's not enough...
Even though most people view walking as a 'leisurely' form of
exercise, this really depends on your imagination and energy you
put into it. Walking a mile at a brisk pace burns up exactly the
same calories as running a mile or swimming 15 lengths of a 25
metre pool. Walking can be an efficient and effective form of
transport too; so why incorporate exercise into the activities
which normally involve passive inactivity such as car trips?
How much, how often...?
To get health benefits from walking, you only need to walk for
30 minutes a day. This could be broken down into two 15 minute
journeys or three or four shorter trips if you'd prefer. For a
start, why not try walking instead of using the car for school runs
or short journeys to the shops. You might even find that walking to
school or work during rush hour gets you there quicker. If you
don't want to walk the whole way, consider taking the bus instead
of the car as it involves more walking. Or how about going for a
short walk during your lunch break? This will improve your
appetite, stretch your legs and make you more alert.
Walking at a brisk pace will provide the biggest benefit but
remember to start off slowly and build yourself up gradually. Try
to walk most days of the week and gradually increase the time you
spend walking. In order to improve your level of fitness you need
to increase your heart rate a little above its normal working rate.
This requires that you walk at a pace where:
- Your breathing is deeper than normal but still allows you to
hold a conversation.
- Your heart beats faster than normal but does not race.
- Your body temperature is raised (without breaking into a