WALKING FOR HEALTH

Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.

It is underrated as a form of exercise but walking is ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels who want to be more active. Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers. Use this guide to increase the amount of walking you do every day and maximize the health benefits.

Before you start

A pair of shoes is all the equipment you really need. Any shoes or trainers that are comfortable provide adequate support and don’t cause blisters will do.

Wear loose-fitting clothing that allows you to move freely. Choose thin layers rather than heavy, chunky clothing.

If you’re walking to work, you can just wear your usual work clothes with a comfy pair of shoes.

For long walks, you may want to take some water, healthy snacks, a spare top, sunscreen and a sunhat in a small backpack.

If you start taking regular, longer walks, you may want to invest in a waterproof jacket and some walking boots for more challenging routes.

Starting out

Start slowly and try to build your walking regime gradually. To get the health benefits from walking, it needs to be of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. In other words, it needs to be faster than a stroll.

Try to walk 10,000 steps a day; most of us walk between 3,000 and 4,000 steps a day anyway, so reaching 10,000 isn’t as daunting as it might sound.

To begin with, you can only walk fast for a couple of minutes, that’s fine. Don’t overdo it on your first day. You can break up your activity into 10-minute chunks, as long as you’re doing your activity at a moderate intensity.

Begin every walk slowly and gradually increase your pace. After a few minutes, if you’re ready, try walking a little faster.

Towards the end of your walk, gradually slow down your pace to cool down. Finish off with a few gentle stretches, which will help improve your flexibility.

From walking to the shops or part of your journey to work, to walking the dog and organized group walks, try to make every step count.

Posted on December 22, 2017

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