The magic of walking
Keep walking! It’s so easy!
Although everyone is aware that their health and well-being would benefit from being more active, there are few realistic solutions that encourage us to move. The truth is - most activity seekers do not know where to start. At home, work or school many do not have access to suitable activity solutions but the advice is to ‘just be more active in day to day life’! ‘Take one step at a time’ is easy to hear, but the majority are reluctant to believe that small changes can make a big difference.
However, ‘just being more active in daily life’, walking more, can have a huge impact on not only our immediate health, fitness and well-being, but, if increased safely and steadily over time, it is the simplest and most widely accessible way to support a long term lifestyle change. The fact is we should walk around 6 km / day and burn 500 cal / day. It isn’t really that hard! Simply start taking extra steps to catch the underground or tram one stop farther away than you normally would. Walking is a relaxing and enjoyable way to keep healthy and, as it requires no additional time, equipment or expense, it’s the perfect way to fit exercise into your daily routine.
Walking helps us stay healthy, promotes psychological well-being and reduces feelings of stress, depression and tiredness. It also helps people achieve and maintain a healthy body weight and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Did you know:
• Longer moderately paced walks (40 mins at 60-65% maximum heart rate) are best for losing weight – up to 300 calories per hour.
• Shorter, faster walks (20 mins at 75-85% maximum heart rate) are best for improving heart and lung function.
- First, contact your doctor for a check-up before beginning any exercise programme if you have any medical conditions, have not exercised regularly for a year or more, are over 65, substantially overweight or smoke excessively.
- Do some stretching exercises to warm up your muscles properly before walking. Stretching will add flexibility and can make your walking more comfortable. After walking, stretch again to decrease the build-up of lactic acid, the chemical that causes your muscles to ache.
- Make sure you drink enough fluids. Drink plenty of water before starting your walk, and take a bottle of water with you to replace lost fluids as you walk.
- Build up your walking slowly, gradually increasing your pace and number of steps to reduce the chance of injury.
- Find a friend to walk with. You will be more motivated.
- Wear reflective clothing/shoes when walking at night.
- Be careful when walking in rain, snow, icy or extreme weather conditions. Alternatively, visit a fitness club.
Few easy ways to increase your steps:
- Get off your train or bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way.
- Use the stairs instead of the lift.
- Park farther away from the shops.
- Don’t use the car for short trips – walk instead.
- Walk over to visit a friend, instead of driving.
- Walk up escalators.
- Take up dancing — ballroom, clogging, you name it. Most of us love music, and it’s fun!
- Take a walk after dinner.
- Don’t call or email your office colleagues; walk over to see them whenever possible.
- Walk around while you are on the phone. You can do about 100 steps in a five-minute conversation.
Start now, what are you waiting for?!
Personal Trainer, Holmes Place