Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and does not require any special equipment or training.
Physical activity does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods in order to improve your health. A 2007 study of inactive women found that even a low level of exercise – around 75 minutes per week – improved their fitness levels significantly, when compared to a non-exercising group.
Walking is low impact, requires minimal equipment, can be done at any time of day and can be performed at your own pace. You can get out and walk without worrying about the risks associated with some more vigorous forms of exercise. Walking is also a great form of physical activity for people who are overweight, elderly, or who didn’t exercise in a long time.
Walking for fun and fitness is not limited to strolling by yourself around local neighbourhood streets. There are various clubs, venues and strategies you can use to make walking an enjoyable and social part of your lifestyle.
Benefits for walking to work or college
Walking to work comes with a host of great benefits, and not just for the environment. Your body, mind and bank balance can all benefit too, so why not make this simple change and see what a difference it can make? Here are just a few benefits you can expect to see.
- Better physical fitness
- Fewer health issues
- More time to yourself
- Increased mental wellbeing
- Lower stress levels
- Time to organise your mind
- Save money
Health benefits of walking
You carry your own body weight when you walk. This is known as weight-bearing exercise. Some of the benefits include:
- Increased heart and lung fitness
- Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
- Improved management of conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes
- Stronger bones and improved balance
- Increased muscle strength and endurance
- Increased mental health
- Reduced body fat.
Walking for 30 minutes a day
To get the health benefits, try to walk for at least 30 minutes as briskly as you can on most days of the week. ‘Brisk’ means that you can still talk but not sing and you may be puffing slightly. Moderate activities such as walking pose little health risk but if you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program of physical activity.