Physical inactivity is one of the UK’s biggest health problems, responsible for around 17% of early deaths (Walking for Health 2013). It’s recommended that adults spend at least 30 minutes a day doing moderate intensity exercise, like walking, at least 5 days a week. However, with long periods sat behind desks, sometimes it can seem hard to fit these recommendations into everyday life. Only 6% of men and 4% of women in the UK actually achieve this level of exercise.
Brisk walking, however, is a perfect way to get that 30 minutes a day. Research shows that walking 10,000 steps a day can burn 300-400 calories, as well as reducing blood pressure and the risk of stroke, heart disease, certain cancers and even Alzheimer’s disease in old age. Since walking is a relatively gentle form of exercise, it’s accessible to almost anyone, however fit (or unfit!) you are – just start slowly and build up gradually, and walking could provide a gateway into the world of exercise.
Walking and weight loss
If you’re currently not a very active person, increasing your levels of walking can help reduce weight or maintain weight loss. The average person walks only around 3,000-4,000 steps a day, increasing this to around 10,000 steps a day can help increase your stamina, boost your metabolism and decrease your waistline. If you’re not very active, try building up to 10,000 steps gradually. Monitor the number of steps you take each day over a week and use this to find your daily average. From this baseline, try to add a few more steps each day until you’re regularly achieving that 10,000 step goal. If you’re struggling, try joining one of our Health Walks groups to help get you motivated.
Walking and stress
Not only is walking good for your body, it’s also good for your mental wellbeing. Keeping active reduces stress, allows you to socialise, helps people to sleep better, and lowers chances of depression by 30%!