National Walking Day – the benefits of walking!
Spring has sprung and with it, longer days and higher temperatures. These are ideal conditions for spending more time outdoors. A daily short walk with your pet or with friends sounds very inviting. On the first Wednesday in April, we celebrate National Walking Day. Walking is an essential physical activity. It strengthens our fitness, improves our well-being, reduces the risk of developing many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. By oxygenating our cells, we can reduce oxidative stress and thus inhibit the development of free radicals, the so-called accelerators of ageing.
Walking requires no special skills, complex technique or equipment. It is free to do and is accessible for many people!
The benefits of walking
- Improves cardiovascular function
- Reduces the risk of overweight and type 2 diabetes
- Improves joint flexibility
- Improved mental health
- Reducing tension and stress
- Improved concentration
- Improved quality of sleep
A balanced diet and walking is a great combination for losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight.
How to celebrate National Walking Day?
- Spend twenty minutes today walking. Or more, if you like!
- Look for a park or path near your home or in your neighbourhood. (Beautiful scenery is a good motivator, especially in spring).
- Instead of taking public transport to work or school, get off a stop or two earlier and walk the rest of the way.
- Go for a walk with your pet, or walk with a friends pet. You can even sign up for schemes to walk other pets, such as ‘Borrow My Doggy’.
- No ideas for spending time with friends? Head to the park for a catch up and walk!
- Download an app on your phone that will count your steps – some phones come with built in step counters. You could also set up challenges with other people to motivate each other to be physically active together. Winning prizes or beating your records can be addictive!
- Instead of going to the supermarket, take a walk to your local grocery shop.
To stay healthy, general physical activity guidelines recommend that adults aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. This is an average of 21 minutes per day. If we break down the weekly time into individual days then we can see that 20 minutes is manageable each day. Going beyond this will only provide further benefits to our overall health and wellbeing!
20 minutes a day of low-impact physical activity in the form of walking can benefit your mood and your whole body. In addition, stress can be reduced and better managed. You may even save time commuting by foot, especially with the traffic! Regular walking, a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet and keeping yourself mentally comfortable and surrounding yourself with good people is a recipe for a long life. Remember, movement is health!