The health benefits of walking

Embrace National Walking Month: incorporate just 20 minutes of foot work into your day and reap the health benefits!

The health benefits of walking

Walking is often overshadowed by other forms of exercise (running included!) however, it’s one of the most beneficial activities out there. And best of all it is accessible to almost everyone. All you need is a pair of shoes!

Just 20 minutes a day

Living Streets is a UK charity that works towards making our streets safer and more pleasant. For National Walking Month, they launched an initiative to encourage everyone to get walking for 20 minutes every day. The aim is to show people of all ages how easy and enjoyable it is to fit a little exercise into their daily lives.

Living Streets have loads of tips on incorporating 20 minutes of walking into your day to day life. From accompanying the kids to school, to taking an evening stroll to the local shops, or getting off the bus a stop early. Try having a walking meeting with colleagues or heading out a little further during your lunch break. 

Health benefits

Walking is great for your heart, significantly reducing the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study found that the health benefits of walking and running were comparable, when the same amount of energy was expended in each activity. So if running is not for you, choose walking instead! Just 20-30 minutes of walking every day is hugely beneficial to your health.

Going for a walk every day is a great way to de-stress. As well as burning calories and increasing your metabolism - key to losing weight - a short walk will lift your mood. If you walk with a friend, the social interaction will give you even more of a boost. Try power walking if you're looking to burn a maximum of calories while keeping it low impact. A brisk walk will really get your heart rate going, and walking up and down hills is the perfect way to tone your legs – it’s hard work!

Walk/run yourself to fitness

If you’re looking to get fitter and are thinking about giving running a go, walking is a great place to start. You can ease yourself into it with a walk/run programme. Check out the Running Bug’s Couch to 5K training programme for a gentle start. You’ll begin by running for 1 minute and walking for 2 minutes, repeating this for a total of just 18 minutes.

And if you’d like some more running tips for beginners, check out this guide on how to start running

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