Most of us will admit we could probably do with getting a bit fitter.
Joining the gym, exercise classes and personal trainers can be REALLY expensive, and realistically most of us have to spend our cash elsewhere.
But that isn’t a good enough excuse not to do anything, and there’s one form of exercise which is completely free – walking.
It’s a great way to explore new areas, and it can also be the perfect opportunity for a proper chat with your nearest and dearest away from screens and everyday stresses.
And there are also lots of health benefits to walking.
Back in 2013, an NHS study revealed more walking could save 37,000 lives in England every single year.
So why is it so good for us?
There are lots of reasons why you should get out and about walking.
It’s a weight-bearing exercise as you carry your own body weight when you’re doing it.
The benefits include:
increased muscle strength.
As well as helping you physically, there are also longs of mental health benefits to exercise.
reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.
The easiest thing to do is to make walking part of your normal routine, so it doesn’t feel like effort or a chore.
You can try:
If you’re struggling to walk for long periods of time, try listening to music.
The rhythm might also help you to increase your pace and make time go faster.
The UK Department of Health has released recommendations for how much exercise we should be doing.
If you don’t do any exercise at the moment, build up to these aims slowly. Just 10 minutes of activity will benefit your health, so that’s a good starting point.
If you try to do too much straight away, you might lose motivation and stop.
To feel the full benefits, an adult should aim to do the one of the following every week:
We should also be aiming to do activities which build up our muscles, such as push-ups or sit-ups twice a week.
Moderate intensity is when your breathing and your heart rate are faster and you feel warmer
Vigorous intensity is when your breathing is much deeper and more rapid.
The amount of calories you burn doing any exercise depends on your weight.
There are lots of different calculators which will help you work out exactly the right figure for your body, including this great one on the Bupa website which allows you to add lots of different activities.
But here are a few examples.
If you’re walking at a moderate speed (about 3mph) for 30 minutes:
If you want to get the most out of walking, there are a few little things you can do to add more intensity.
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