Walking is great! It is free, no equipment is needed, it is good for the body and mind, and, with doctors advising at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, it is one of the easiest activities to add into everyday life. If you are thinking of getting more active, here are the reasons to include walking into your routine.
Free and easy to add to daily routines
The gym has a membership fee, jogging has a dress code and cycling involves a bike. With walking you can wear anything, no special equipment is needed, and the great outdoors is mostly free. Whether you follow a hiking trail, take a wander to work or simply wander around the shop, it all adds up to improving your health without spending a penny. If you are looking to add exercise to your day it is easy to fit a walk into your day. Whereas some exercises can have an impact on bones and the body, walking is a low impact exercise with almost no side effects and the risk of injury is very low compared with other exercises. It is a good entry exercise to get your body ready for more intense exercise in the future.
Good for your body
Research shows that walking can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, lower cholesterol, blood pressure and body fat and increase bone density to help prevent osteoporosis. It can also reduce the risk of cancer of the colon, of non-insulin dependent diabetes and Alzheimer’s or dementia.
The NHS website states that walking is a strength exercise; it can help with flexibility and co-ordination. Also, walking upstairs can help you avoid falls by improving muscle strength.
Good for your mental health
While walking has several physical benefits, it also can give the brain mental boosts as well. Some examples of the emotional benefits of exercise:
- Walking releases endorphins which improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety – a 1999 study published in the Annals of Behavioural Medicine shows that university students who walked and did other easy to moderate exercise regularly had lower stress levels than those who do no exercise or who exercised strenuously
- Feeling fitter and managing your own weight can build confidence and self-image
- Active people have a reduced risk of suffering clinical depression
- Group walking can improve mental health and feelings of isolation
- Being in natural spaces and the outdoors can have a positive effect on mental health
- Exercise, such as walking, increases the blood flow to the brain. A 1999 study of people over 60 found that walking 45 minutes a day at 16-minute mile pace increased the thinking skills of those over 60. People were mentally sharper after taking up this walking program.
Everyone Health provides Physical Activity Services and Health Trainer Services for people who live in Southend-on-Sea. These services work with you to help you make behavioural changes to keep you healthy. If you are looking for help, advice or group classes visit the website today to find out more or contact us by phone: 0333 005 0095.