Physical activity does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods in order to improve your health. Regular walking can help you lose body fat, maintain a healthy weight, improve your fitness and reduce your risk of developing serious health issues.
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 some of the risks associated with other more vigorous forms of exercise. It’s also a great form of physical activity for people who are overweight, elderly or those who haven’t exercised in a long time.
BENEFITS OF WALKING
You carry your own body weight when you walk. This is sometimes called ‘weight bearing’ exercise. Some of the benefits include increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness, reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, stronger bones and improved balance, increased muscle strength and reduced body fat.
WALK FOR 30 MINUTES A DAY
Try to walk for at least 30 minutes as briskly as you can most days of the week. ‘Brisk’ means that you can still talk but not sing, and you may be puffing slightly. Try to make walking a routine by walking at the same time each day.
Remember, you use the same amount of energy no matter what time of day you walk, so do what is most convenient for you.
FOOTWEAR IS IMPORTANT
Walking is a low cost and effective form of exercise. However, the wrong type of shoes or walking action can cause foot or shin pain, blisters and injuries to soft tissue. Make sure your shoes are comfortable, with appropriate heel and arch supports. Take light, easy steps and make sure your heel touches down before your toes.