Although it’s simple, walking is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to become more active, improve fitness and lose weight, whilst providing a whole host of physical, mental and social benefits.
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, coronary heart disease and strokes
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and certain cancers
- Improve flexibility and joint strength
- Improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety
- Build self-esteem and improve self-image and confidence
- Increase social connection through walking with friends, family or colleagues
- Joining a group can also be a great way to meet new people with a common interest
What equipment do I need?
No special equipment is required although it would be advised to wear comfortable footwear which provides enough support and comfortable clothing. Depending on how long or how far you plan to walk for you may also want to take some water and snacks.
Some activities such as Nordic Walking may require additional equipment such as poles but these will often be provided for free at sessions.
How do I get involved?
Due to its simplicity walking is so easy to get started, chances are you are already doing some. In order to get the health benefits from walking it has to be done at a moderate intensity, faster than a stroll and enough to raise your heart rate.
The recommended amount of exercise for adults is 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. That breaks down to 30 minutes of exercise over five days a week. However, just ten minutes of brisk walking every day can get your heart pumping and can make you feel more energetic, as well as lowering your risk of serious illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. When starting out do as much as you feel comfortable with and gradually build up from there, don’t try and do too much too soon.