Walk your way to better health


Physical inactivity has a major health impact globally, with a study estimating that its elimination would remove between 6% and 10% of the major NCDs of CHD, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers, as well as increase life expectancy. Yet with the lighter mornings, and a hint of spring in the air, what better time to venture outdoors and start to move? This can be beneficial for everyone – whether you are already a gym fanatic or a winter couch potato.

For anyone spending too much time chained to their desk, introducing a daily routine to simply walk can have tremendous benefits. The faster, further and more frequently you stride out increases the returns, while it is increasingly clear that a sedentary lifestyle carries serious negative implications for health. So here are some straightforward suggestions to help start you moving.

The walking programme

Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest exercises to get active, helping you get healthier and in the process either lose weight, maintain it or at least slow down weight gain. Just examine the stats:

A 60kg person walking for 30 minutes will burn:

  • Strolling (2mph) 75 calories
  • Walking (3mph) 99 calories
  • Fast walking (4mph) 150 calories

You can easily make walking a routine by:

  • Walking part of your journey to work
  • Walking to the shops
  • Adopting a regular walk with a friend
  • Walking the kids to school
  • Joining a walking group

The benefits of walking can be significant

  • If you are walking outside in daylight you will be boosting your vitamin D levels
  • Regular walking can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels
  • Walking counts as a weight bearing exercise, strengthening bones and helping stave off osteoporosis
  • Walking uphill will help strengthen and shape legs – hamstrings, quads and calves – and lift the glutes helping to give shape to the buttocks
  • Speed walking conditions arms, shoulders and upper-back, as you swing along the street

Improving energy, as it boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to every cell in the body, while also helping lift your mood – what’s not to like! Pull on some comfortable shoes and get walking!

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           About the author

Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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