Health Benefits

Walking is great exercise for all the family

Health benefits of Walking

Regular walking can…

  • Give you more energy
  • Reduce the risk of high blood pressure stroke and heart disease
  • Relieves stress
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Tone muscles
  • Burn calories
  • Strengthen your heart
  • Reduce your risk of developing diabetes
  • Protect against osteoporosis

Walking is a very efficient mode of transport as it

  • Improves the environment by reducing the impact on residents of pollution and noise
  • Limits green house gases
  • Improves the health and well being of the population by promoting regular physical activity

Tips for walking

  • Gradually increase how much activity you do and how often you are active. For health benefits 3o minutes of moderate intensity physical activity is recommended. If you are beginning to become physically active start off walking for five minutes and build it up to 30 minutes.  This could include walking to work/ school, walking to the shops or going for a walk with friends.
  • Wear walking shoes that have good cushioning and are well ventilated.
  • Wear layers of clothes rather than bulky thick jumpers and tops
  • Don’t forget to drink water
  • Watch your posture. Walk tall.
  • Be physically active every day. Choose an activity that you enjoy and makes you feel good.
  • Warm up at the beginning and cool down towards the end.
  • Listen to your body – stop exercising if you feel unwell, have pain or feel dizzy.
  • Consult your doctor before exercising if you are unsure or have a health problem

Warm up and cool down

Walk or jog at an easy pace for five to seven minutes until you feel warm all over.

Loosen up the joints and muscles by doing the following stretches:

  • Hold each stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat each stretch two to three times
  • Breathe normally and slowly

Shoulder roll
Lift your shoulders up. Circle them forwards and down. Now circle them up, back and down.

Stretch the back of your leg
Put one leg in front of the other. Bend the back leg and ease back onto it as if you were about to sit on a chair. Keep your back straight. Feel the stretch along the back of the straight leg. Repeat on the other side.

Stretch the front of your thigh
Use a chair or the wall for balance. Stand on one foot with your knee slightly bent and hold the other foot as shown. Ease your foot upwards until you can feel a slight stretch on the front of your thigh. Change legs and repeat.

Stretch your calf
Stand with one leg in front of you and bend the knee. Lean forward keeping your back leg and you’re back straight. Repeat with the other leg forward.

Stretch your whole body
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Raise your arms over your head. Slowly begin to stretch upwards.

Ways to incorporate walking into your everyday routine

  • Walk to work/ school
  • Go for a walk during lunch time
  • Take the stairs and not the lift
  • Walk to the shops
  • Go walking with friends
  • Walk the children to school
  • If you have to drive park further away and walk to your destination
  • Get off the bus 1 or 2 stop from your destination and walk the rest of the journey
  • Walk to the park

Guidelines for losing weight and keeping it off

Adults who are overweight or obese gain similar health benefits from physical activity as people with a healthy body weight. Even when you do not lose weight, you will gain health benefits from being more active.

You will gain even more benefits if you lose weight as well as increase your activity levels. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight you may need to change your diet as well as increase activity. To lose weight you need to use up more energy on activity than you get from food. To maintain your weight you need to have a balance between the amount of energy you get from food and use on activity.

To maintain a healthy weight

To avoid gaining weight, you need to use at least 350 calories per day in physical activity, as well as the energy you use in everyday tasks. This means about 60 minutes of brisk walking or 30 minutes of jogging per day.

If you have lost a significant amount of weight you may need to do 60–90 minutes of moderate activity per day to keep the weight off .

To lose weight

To lose weight, you need to do more physical activity than the recommendations for adults at a healthy weight. How much activity you need to do can vary depending on a number of factors, including how much weight you need to lose. In general, you need to do about one third more activity than the amount recommended by the adult guidelines. This amounts to brisk walking for at least 60–75 minutes per day. If you have a very high Body Mass Index (BMI), 30.0 or above, or you are extremely inactive, start with bouts of 10 minutes or less. Gradually increase the duration, and then the intensity of your activity until you reach the adult guidelines.

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