Where would we be without walking? Well, nowhere for one! Other than getting us from A to B, it’s really good for us too - Walking is low impact, requires no equipment, can be done at any time of day at your own pace which makes it super versatile and accessible.
Of course, walking for fun and fitness isn’t limited to strolling by yourself; there are various clubs, venues and strategies you can use to make walking an enjoyable and social part of your lifestyle.
Step by Step
Just 30 minutes every day can have some great benefits since you carry your own body weight when you walk. These include:
- Increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung)
- Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
- Improved management of conditions such as hypertension
(high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes
- Stronger bones and improved balance
- Increased muscle strength and endurance
- Reduced body fat.
Go at your own pace
When you’re walking, try going at a brisk pace, meaning you can still talk but not sing (if you’re the spontaneous type). Moderate activities such as walking pose little health risk but, if you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program of physical activity.
Routine is key
To help keep you consistent, make your walking a routine! You use the same amount of energy no matter what time of day you walk, so go with whatever’s the most convenient! Ask a friend to come along, and catch up as you go – two birds, one stone!
Check your progress
A pedometer measures the number of steps you take. You can use it to measure your movement throughout a day and compare it to other days or to recommended amounts. This may motivate you to move more. The recommended number of steps accumulated per day to achieve health benefits is 10,000 steps or more.
Step it up!
Our body tends to get used to physical activity, so continue to increase your intensity as time goes by.. You can increase the intensity of your walks by:
- Walking up hills
- Walking with hand weights
- Increasing your walking speed gradually by including some quick walking
- Increasing the distance you walk quickly before returning to a moderate walking pace
- Walking for longer.
- Use ski poles, as they do in Nordic Walking !
Things to remember
- Walking for 30 minutes a day or more on most days of the week is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health.
- If you can’t manage 30 minutes a day, remember ‘even a little is good, but more is better’.
- Walking with others can turn exercise into an enjoyable social occasion.
- See your doctor for a medical check-up before embarking on any new fitness program, particularly if you are aged over 40 years, are overweight or haven’t exercised in a long time.
So there it is – an everyday activity that can be really good for us! For more ideas on how to keep fit in different and interesting ways, check out our fitness section