Starting a fitness program can be daunting! If you haven’t done any fitness work for some time, you may worry where to start, how you will manage and how you will motivate yourself. Well this Spring, there is no better place to start than 20 minutes walking a day for National Walking Month during May 2017!
Long hours at the desk can leave you feeling sluggish and lacking energy. Without movement and exercise, your body and mental health can start to suffer. In order to promote the benefits of exploring your local city and improving health, Living Streets in Partnership with Westfield Health have dedicated May to walking! The health benefits of walking speak for themselves, for example,
- The Stroke Association report that a 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27%.
- Regular walking can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by around 60%
Walking regularly can reduce the risk of certain cancers such colon, breast and lung cancer
- Regular walking can improve flexibility and strength of joints, muscles and bones, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Vitamin D and endorphins help reduce risk of depression and lift the mood naturally.
Walking is accessible for most people, you don’t need any special equipment and you can take it at your own pace. Just 20 minutes a day during your lunch break at work, or walking to and from school or work, is enough to make a difference to your fitness levels and how you feel, plus you can do it anywhere!
Below are some of the benefits you can experience from regular walking.
- Walking in the countryside at 2mph on the flat will give you a steady calorie burn of approx 150 calories. Increasing your speed to 4mph will double the calorie burn. Another good way is to choose a route will some hills so you get a mixture of terrains. This works the muscles in your thighs and buttocks in various ways. For example, walking uphill works the front of your thighs and buttocks, but walking downhill works the back of your thigh and the muscles at the front in a negative phase (know as eccentrically). Also you may come across more gates, stiles and cobbles resulting in more movement and essentially more calories burned.
- You can make your walks in the countryside more fun by taking a dog or a picnic. Making the event more of a family gathering with a reward of stopping for lunch is always a winner. You just need to make sure you cover enough steps to burn of dessert afterwards!
- Hill walking has huge benefits as it’s physically more demanding than walking on the flat. Research suggests that most walkers that do so more than 30 minutes a day stay within a healthy weight range. It can be very useful to use poles when walking uphill as often this type of terrain is followed by a decent. Non-experienced hill walkers may find using poles helpful as it reduces any extra pressure going through the knee. Good walking footwear is highly recommended as blisters and sore feet are very unpleasant when walking any distance.
- Countryside terrain can be quite rocky and uneven so being aware of moving rubble under your feet and hidden dips in grassy areas. If you can follow a footpath that is clearer to see where you’re stepping, you’ll reduce the risk of Spains to the ankle and twists your knees. It’s worth checking your route ahead of time and the weather so you can be as prepared as possible.
As part of National Walking month, participants are encouraged to take photos on their walks and upload to social media with the hashtag #Try20, to help motivate others. The Moonwalk will also take place on 13th May 2017 for those who are ready to take on another challenge.
New Dimensions Fitness offer a range of classes and fitness programs for anyone interested in taking control of your health. If you aren’t local to us, we now offer online coaching in the form of Fit Focused Female for anyone who is not able to attend the studio but is looking for the motivation to change their lives.