Walking is Good for You

November 12, 2012

Walking is Good for You

More and more people are now walking more. For a long time walking as a form of exercise was not rated very highly. Fortunately though, in recent times the benefits of walking have been accepted. The medical establishment agree that walking reduces the risk of heart disease, asthma, type 2 diabetes and strokes. Because of it’s straightforwardness it is suitable for all age groups and if you want a harder work out then just walk for longer and a bit faster. It is a very easy way to lose weight whilst becoming healthier. Walking is also a very good moderate intensity aerobic workout whilst keeping the body active.

Before you start

Because of the simplicity of the exercise you don’t really need anything special to do it. It is a good idea though to ensure that your shoes are strong and comfortable and provide adequate support. Your clothing should not be tight and you should wear layers of light clothes, not heavy jackets. Make sure that you are comfortable and can move easily.

The Department of Health stated in 2004, in its “At least Five a Week” campaign that 30 minutes of strolling at 2 miles per hour burns 75 calories in a 60 kg person. Walking at 3 mph burned 99 calories and fast walking at 4 mph burned 150 calories.

If you take longer walks then make sure that you have enough water and suitable spare clothes depending on the season. Hill walking really requires sturdy footwear and outdoor clothing.

Starting out

If you decide to start and have been sedentary before then go slowly and build yourself up gradually. To begin with only walk fast for a few minutes. Try breaking up your exercise into 10-minute blocks but try to do your activity at a moderate intensity. Begin your walking gently and then progressively increase your tempo. If you’re happy then you can try to walk a bit faster, but do not over do it.

To achieve any health benefits through walking, the intensity must be equal to moderate-intensity aerobic activity. This means faster than a stroll in the park. You must be walking fast enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to know that you are not working too hard is that you will be breathing heavily but not puffing.

Recommended physical activity levels

Your age is the deciding factor on how much exercise you should be doing. Normal convention dictates that children under 5 should do 3 hours a day of movement. This can be games, skipping or running between activities in the playground. Children from 5 to 18 years need 1 hour a day. Adults aged 19 to 64 should work their bodies for about two and a half hours a week. This is the same for pensioners. Remember that walking to and from work, friends or places all counts as exercise.

Most people actually walk around 3,000 to 4,000 steps everyday just doing routine items like walking to school, the shop or even pottering about in the garden. Try to walk a few thousand more steps every day.

Always allow yourself a cool down period after a walk and if you can do a few stretches then all the better for you. Being flexible as well as fit is an additional benefit.

Make it a Habit

Because walking is so much a part of everyone’s everyday routine staying motivated is not such an issue.By walking more it will become a habit and you will feel happier and more comfortable. There are many examples of how to get the correct exercise routinely. You can always use the stairs, leave the car at home more often, walk to school with the children or get a walking partner and do regular walks.

Many cities now have city parks, pathways or riverside walks so you can always find an attractive walk during your lunch hour. Rambling clubs are becoming more popular but there are also groups who just go on organised walks.

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