Whether it is a walk in the park, or hike in the hills, enjoy the health benefits of walking and make every step count!
So, whatever the weather, get yourself and your family outdoors to enjoy our beautiful countryside. Not only is walking simple and free, it is also one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight (if needed) and become healthier. Walking is ideal for all age groups and all levels of fitness; what a great way to spend some healthy family time!
According to the NHS, “Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers.”
The NHS recommends it that you start slowly and try to build your walking regime gradually. To get the best health benefits from walking, it needs to be of moderate-intensity activity. In other words, it needs to be faster than a stroll.
Set yourself a goal and try to walk 10,000 steps a day, if you would like to track this and don’t have a smartwatch, there are some fun apps available as a free download.
So what are the top ten science-backed benefits of walking:
1. Cardiovascular Health: Regular walking can improve your cardiovascular fitness by increasing your heart rate and improving blood circulation, thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases.
2. Weight Management: Walking burns calories, making it an effective way to help manage or lose weight when combined with a balanced diet.
3. Mental Well-being: Walking stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. It can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve overall mental well-being.
4. Bone Health: Weight-bearing activities like walking can help strengthen bones, increase bone density, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
5. Joint Health: Walking can improve joint flexibility and reduce the risk of conditions like arthritis by lubricating the joints and maintaining their function.
6. Diabetes Management: Regular walking can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which is beneficial for individuals with diabetes.
7. Cognitive Function: Walking has been linked to improved cognitive function and a reduced risk of cognitive decline, possibly due to increased blood flow to the brain.
8. Sleep Quality: Regular physical activity like walking has been shown to improve sleep quality and help with insomnia.
9. Immune System Boost: Moderate exercise like walking can enhance the immune system’s functioning, helping your body fight off infections more effectively.
10. Longevity: Studies suggest that regular walking increases life expectancy. It contributes to overall health and can help prevent various chronic diseases. These effects are highest in the elderly.
Remember that the benefits of walking can vary based on factors such as duration, intensity, and frequency. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity walking per week to reap these benefits, spread across several days.
Always consult a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
However, as we all know it is sometimes difficult to stay motivated, so mix it up, walk as part of your journey to work, walk to the shops, use the stairs instead of the lift, or walk the kids to school. Alternatively, how about joining a walking group? Ramblers helps you find a walking group with like minded people, there may however be restrictions at the current time. You could also take some time over the weekend to explore some of the trails along our beautiful coastline or take a hike through the tranquil hills and moors of the Durham Dales. We are truly spoilt for choice!
Always remember to finish off your walk with a few gentle stretches and of course keep up to date with regular chiropractic adjustments for enhanced flexibility and mobility.
So, whether it is a walk in the park, or hike in the hills, get outdoors and enjoy the health benefits of walking and make every step count!