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Health Benefits of Walking

Many people think that they either don’t have time for exercise or that they’re simply not fit enough to sign up to a gym. However, there’s one form of exercise that most people can definitely get into – you might even be doing it already!

Walking for just 30 minutes per day can benefit your health immensely. Below, we have outlined just a few of the reasons why walking is so beneficial and how you can achieve this throughout the week.

1. Weight management and loss

It can be daunting to encourage yourself to start losing weight, especially if you are older or less mobile than others. But walking offers an alternative form of exercise that most can achieve, without feeling as if you’re pushing yourself too hard. If you haven’t exercised in a while and are looking to lose weight, do make sure you speak to your GP or health professional first, just to make sure you’re taking the right approach. You should also start off by taking shorter walks initially and then building up to half an hour per day.

health benefits of walking

2. Bones and muscles

Although walking can help with weight loss and improve your overall health, there are many other benefits walking helps aid, within your body. Walking can help strengthen bones, which decreases the risk of bone-related illnesses in the future, such as osteoporosis. Just make sure you have a comfy pair of walking shoes, especially taking into account how much support they offer, as this can be important for your bones and joints in the long run.

3. Mental health

Physical and mental health tend to go hand in hand. Walking helps you to relax, emptying your mind of the day’s stresses, allowing you to just take some time for yourself. Exercise helps your body to release endorphins, improving and enhancing your mood.

Walking is especially helpful for mental health, as many choose to walk through nature-orientated areas, such as the local park or near a river. Remember to keep safe wherever you walk, but ensure that you enjoy your surroundings and really take in everything around you.

If you’re finding your walks a little boring or lonely, why not ask a friend to be your walking partner or even find a walking group? You might find you cover even more ground than if you were to go alone and make some new friends too! There are a number of Lancashire walking groups that you might be interested in joining. Check them out here.

4. Monitor your walking habits

If you’re struggling to keep up with how far you’re walking or how many steps you’re completing, why not download a walking app on your phone or buy a separate device? You can pick up a simple pedometer or invest in something a little bit pricier if you really want to encourage yourself to keep it up. Seeing your progress will not only encourage you to keep motivated, but will give you a real sense of achievement when you slowly increase the amount of steps you do per day.

The NHS recommends trying to hit a target of 10,000 steps per day, which is almost 5 miles. This may sound like an overwhelming number or distance, but just break it down over the day. If you can fit in half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening, then you’ll find you’ll be well on your way there.

If you struggle to find time to exercise, how about getting out and about on your lunch break at work? Or even leaving the car at home a couple of days per week? Making small, smart choices will have you adding up the steps in no time.

5. Change it up

Don’t forget, walking doesn’t have to be boring! Try different routes, different playlists for your music, different times of day, and even different outfits. The enjoyment you will gain from walking will be an added bonus to the health benefits you’ll see and feel too.

Sources: The Guardian | Tesco Living | NHS | The Walking Site | NHS

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