As May is National Walking Month, we thought we’d take a look at the many health benefits that this fundamental activity provides!
The great thing about walking is that it is free and requires little or no equipment! It can take place at any time of the day or night; pretty much in most places; at any pace and either alone or in company! Walking is a great form of physical activity for people in all ‘walks‘ of life, whatever age or level of fitness! This low impact exercise is an ideal way to maintain and improve your health and fitness.
The benefits of regular walking
To walk briskly for around half an hour a day is a great way to help with many health conditions. Brisk walking is at a pace of around 3mph! It increases your heart rate, pumps blood around the body and increases oxygen levels.
Here are just some of the great health benefits:
- Burns calories and is great for weight loss!
- Improves heart and lung health
- Increases bone and muscle strength which can help to ease joint pain.
- Improves stamina
- Boosts energy
Discover the Power of Walking for Physical and Mental Health
Not only does walking assist in our physical fitness, but it is also a wonderful way to lift our spirits and boost our mental health too. Being outside in the open air and participating in gentle (and exertive) exercise, can positively help to reduce depression, anxiety, low self esteem, stress and fatigue. An interesting new study based on an App, called Urban Mind, found that taking a walk in nature can have a positive effect on our mental health for up to 7 hours afterwards! The study also discovered that people who are prone to developing mental health disorders benefitted more than others.
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Make walking part of your daily routine
Setting aside time each day to walk is essential. Add variety to your walks by taking different routes or paths! Listen to the natural sounds outside within your environment or speed up the pace a bit with a good playlist!
If you can’t fit 30 minutes a day into your busy schedule, then try to walk wherever possible. Take the stairs, not the lift or escalator. Walk to the furthest bus stop or the next tube station! Take a walking meeting at work, it will help with your creativity too!
Invest in a fitness band! This is a sure way to prompt and remind you that you need to get moving! Fitness bands measure the number of steps you do every day and will help you to achieve your target.
If you have not been too active recently, or are recuperating from an illness, start to walk gradually. Only increase the time and speed of your walk when you feel you are able to.
Wellbeing People run interactive wellbeing webinars and workshops for businesses and organisations on variety of topics. Take a look at our Movement Medicine webinar and workshop which looks at the benefits of movement
References and further reading