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The power of walking for your health

3 Sep 2020

You don’t need to work out intensely to make little improvements to your health – which is good news, if you’re easing back into life after lockdown. Walking has a number of health benefits – whatever your age or fitness level. The best part? It’s completely free and you can walk anywhere you like. No gym membership required.

5 reasons walking is so good for you

1. It burns calories

It’s true – walking can help you lose weight. Of course, the amount of calories you burn depends on a few factors, like the incline you’re walking on, how fast you’re going and how long you walk for. Trying to trim your waistline? Turn a casual stroll into a brisk walk and mix up your terrain.

2. It boosts your mood

Walking is proven to help reduce depression, anxiety and general bad moods. An evening stroll after a stressful day can work wonders to clear your mind and help you feel refreshed.

3. It helps your joints

If you have arthritis, regular walking eases pain in the knees and hips. If you don’t, walking can actually prevent joint problems by lubricating joints and strengthening the surrounding muscles.

4. It improves immunity

It’s been proven that regular walking can actually help protect you during cold and flu season. At least 20 minutes a day, five days a week led to 43% less sick days in a study – as walking contributes to a stronger immune system and helps fight off upper respiratory problems.

5. It keeps your heart healthy

Regular walking reduces the risk of high blood pressure by at least 7.2%, the risk of heart disease by at least 9.3% and the risk of diabetes by at least 12.3%. It ultimately reduces cardiac risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and mental stress.

How much should I be walking?

Walking is a much lighter form of cardio than activities like running, rowing and cycling, so it’s recommended you walk for 150 minutes per week. That might sound like a lot, but all it takes is a brisk 20-minute walk each day.

3 miles per hour is considered a brisk walk rather than a stroll – if you’re at a pace that would make it hard to sing along to a song, you’re on track to reaping the rewards of walking.

Try tracking your steps with a pedometer or fitness app and you’ll feel more motivated to get the numbers up and smash your 150-minute weekly target.

How to fit more walking into your daily routine

Are you not much of a walker? Have you become less active since lockdown began? That’s fine. The easiest way to walk more is to make it a habit. Walk to work if you can make it in under an hour, and try the same for going to the shops, running errands, and taking little ones to school.

Walking from A to B is an easy way to get your steps in. And if you consider walking to be on the boring side, listen to music or a podcast and the time will fly. Ready, set, walk!

Reviewed by: Dr Rhianna McClymont

Last updated:

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