When it comes to getting some exercise, people are often at a loss where to begin (or begin again). You may be considering the gym, swimming, running etc., but somehow, walking is often overlooked.
But it’s what our bodies are made and evolved to do. It’s fantastic exercise for us. And I’m not talking about walking the dog or walking around the shops. I’m talking about trainers on, and going for a brisk walk. How long for? Even ten minutes is a good start – more on that later.
Walk regularly and the health benefits can be enormous
- Walking strengthens your bones.
- Walking leads to a longer life.
- Walking lightens mood.
- Walking strengthens muscles.
- Walking supports and improves the health of your joints.
- Walking improves your cardiovascular system and increases the oxygen supply throughout your body.
- Walking helps you do more for longer in those in later years especially if combined with resistance exercises to keep the muscles strong.
- A 10-minute daily walk can contribute to meeting the current government recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week.
- The effects of walking can stave off the spate of ‘modern day illnesses’ such as diabetes, dementia and some cancers.
- Walking can lead to weight loss.
A bit of a no-brainer. And yet, we’re not doing it. As you probably saw, the fact that we’re not walking enough was all over the news recently backed up with some alarming stats.
40% of those aged 40 to 60 do not achieve 10 minutes of one burst of continuous brisk walking over the course of an entire month. What most of the press failed to report was that half of those are doing some other form of exercise. Even so, that still leaves 1 in 5 of that age group worryingly physically inactive.
The findings also reveal how lifestyles have changed over time, showing that people in the UK are 20% less active now than they were in the 1960s and on average walk 15 miles less a year than 2 decades ago.
The sedentary nature of modern and busy lives makes it difficult for many to find the time for enough exercise to benefit health. But walking has got to be the easiest form of exercise to incorporate into our busy lives.
Use tech to help
Sometimes technology can be a great help and motivator too. As part of their study, Public Health England have developed an app to show how much brisk walking a person is doing each day and how to incorporate more of it into their lifestyles.
For more information on the app, follow this link and, of course, there’s lots of other apps and technology (such as Fitbit) which can help get you up, out and inspired.
So why not do as I’m going to do, and try and incorporate regular walking into your daily life. It’s a great feeling coming home, knowing you’ve done a bit of exercise and you’ll be doing yourself so much good.