Walking regularly is one of the easiest ways to stay active and to hit our recommended target of 30 minutes of activity, five times a week. Most of us should be aiming to hit around 10000 steps a day and, while this may seem overwhelming at first, the key to success is building up slowly.
It’s also a good idea to try and walk with someone, or in a group. Not only will you find more motivation to keep up with your companions, but it’s more fun, too, as you can while away the minutes chatting and, before you know it, you will have hit your target.
Other quick and easy ways to increase the amount you walk is to take a stroll to the shops, rather than hopping in the car, or maybe getting off the bus or tube one stop earlier than usual on your way to work. Meanwhile, using the stairs instead of lifts or escalator is another quick win.
Tracking your daily steps is a great way to keep you focus and on track. Using simple pedometers or basic fitness trackers and apps on your smartphone are all cheap and easy ways to help get you moving more.
But how will walking more benefit you? Surely such a low-intensity workout won’t have much of an effect on your health and fitness? Actually, that’s not the case. Here are 11 ways in which walking more will help improve your health – both physical and mental – as well as your fitness:
- Healthy heart – regular walking reduces risk of heart and cardiovascular disease
- Helps weight loss – walking 30min each day has been proven to support healthy weight loss
- Increases lung capacity – as you walk you are breathing in more oxygen, which helps increase lung capacity, improving stamina and exercise performance
- Increased stamina – the more you walk, the better your endurance and stamina will be
- Reduces blood pressure
- Reduces your chances of cancer – a sedentary life style is one of the key links to cancer and walking daily will help aid weight loss and reduce the risks of cancer. Walking is also a great way to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy
- Strengthens bones – osteoporosis is linked to sedentary lifestyles and getting out walking more often will improve bone strength. Walking is low impact but will have a huge impact on your health.
- Reduces risk of diabetes – increasing movement to 3000-7500 steps per day has been linked to reducing type 2 diabetes.
- Brain and memory function – yes walking can make you smarter. It helps to supply the brain with oxygen and glucose which helps the brain to function more efficiently. Walking more has also been linked to reducing risks of dementia
- Reduces stress/depression – exercise releases feel good endorphins
- Clears your head and makes you creative – it’s a great way to relax and clear your mind, giving you the ability to think more creatively and efficiently.