Health benefits of walking

Walking is one of the best ways to get fit. Not only is it free but you can do it any time, any place, and in all weathers. You can fit it into your lifestyle and do as little or as much as you’re able to – whether it’s a 15 minute walk on your lunch break or adding an extra 5 minutes to your journey on the way home from the school run!

It’s kinder on the joints than running or other intense types of exercise and you can increase your fitness levels rapidly by walking daily and by introducing intervals to your walk – changing speed, incline and time regularly to promote fat loss, healthy weight maintenance and improved fitness levels. Walking on different surfaces gives your body varying levels of resistance, which helps to build lean muscle mass and burn calories. You can switch it up by trying out walks on the beach, on the pavement, uphill and downhill or through muddy fields!

As well as the physical benefits of walking, the other health benefits are enormous. Getting outside in the fresh air can help you to relax, refresh your mind and clear your head. We spend a lot of time indoors compared to previous generations and this has such a huge effect on mental health. Getting outside and moving your body can help to improve symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress.

If you have children, you can involve them too. Take them on hikes, to the beach and to the park. Encouraging outdoor time is beneficial to both yourself and them. If you care for someone who is unable to walk far, or is restricted to a wheelchair then they can still benefit from enjoying the fresh air and scenery. If things are getting stressful indoors, sometimes the best thing to do if you are able to is to get outside and go for a walk. Even just a few minutes a day can revive you and improve concentration levels, mood and productivity.

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