We all know that it is important - we have been told often enough!
And yet, a huge percentage of us are still not getting enough exercise. It is said that 80% of those in the USA between the ages of 25 and 64 are not being active enough.
But why stop at 64 when it is just as important over the age of 64 and indefinitely...
One recent and astonishing statistic to come out of Public Health England was that 41% of UK adults aged 40 to 60 walk LESS than 10 minutes at a brisk pace each MONTH, meaning that they are at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes
, heart disease, dementia and even cancer.
When you think about it, walking is the oldest form of human physical activity. So what could be more natural?
Walking is a great place to start
Yes, even if you dream of going on to other sporting achievements such as running marathons or off road cycling. Walking will still be a great addition to any tougher workouts.
- Walking can be so convenient - getting you from A to B without any fuss.
- It does not wear down joints but still burns calories. Stretching, resting enough and starting slowly can help prevent pains and further inflammation.
- Walking boosts your metabolism and..
- Helps prevent so many conditions including the obvious obesity as well as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression and anxiety disorders, dementia, arthritis and even fatigue and low energy levels.
- Studies have pointed out that regular walking can be as beneficial as regular gym workouts.
- Walking briskly and deliberately for at least 30 minutes a day has been proven to lower body mass index and reduce waistlines. The best results have been found in women, people over 50 and those with low incomes — three populations that notoriously struggle with their weight.
- You get out and about in all types of weather, you learn more about your surroundings (and even the wildlife that might inhabit them) and there is that feel good factor when you have finished your walk too.
The perception that walking is an easier form of exercise
And this is not a bad thing! When someone walks daily for exercise, the net effect might be that they burn more calories overall throughout the day, even though their actual workout was less strenuous, because they perceive walking to be easier. This means that even after their 30 minutes of brisk walking, they still feel they have sufficient energy left to do other pursuits including gardening, housework and more. Walking is certainly one of the safest forms of exercise.
Walking is therapeutic for many
Yes, many people find walking both therapeutic and soothing - especially when it’s done outdoors. One benefit is that regular walking can help balance stress hormones like cortisol. When such stress hormones are out of balance, this is known to increase cravings and fat storage.
Unless we are some kind of nocturnal indoor creature, we always feel better when we can get out into the fresh air – whatever the weather. One of the new catch phrases is “green exercise”
which refers to physical exercise when undertaken in a relatively natural environment. While physical exercise is well-known to provide health benefits, there is now good evidence that viewing and being in natural environments has calming and positive mood effects too.
Consider starting to walk briskly for 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week for your health's sake. As you get more used to it, you will find yourself able to increase your speed, your intensity and even the distance - tackling hills for example.