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Lifestyle

Walk yourself to health

In the current climate the government has stated one type of exercise per day is permitted to limit the spread of coronavirus – so why not take up walking?

Walking comes with a host of great benefits, and not just for the environment. Your body, mind and bank balance can all benefit too, so why not make this simple change and see what a difference it can make? 

Here are just a few benefits you can expect to see if you add more steps to your daily routine.

1. Better physical fitness

Walking is a great form of cardio exercise that doesn’t require sweating it out at the gym. A brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, enough to raise your heart rate, temperature and breathing, can still reap the same kind of rewards as a run on the treadmill. During a brisk walk you should be able to hold a conversation but not be able to sing.

After a while, you’ll find that you don’t feel as worn out after a walk and can burn more energy than when you use public transport.

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2. Fewer health issues

As with all other forms of exercise, walking can help you to stay in shape and, in turn, lower your risk of developing certain obesity-related conditions. From diabetes and coronary heart disease to high blood pressure and cholesterol, even a simple 10-minute walk can strengthen your heart and help keep you healthier.

Other things you can consider in your day to day life include:

If you need to use public transport for work, try getting off a stop earlier than usual and walking the rest

Walk to the local shops instead of jumping in the car

Take your dog on a longer walk than usual

3. More time to yourself

If you’ve been known to complain about not having enough time to exercise, use this time to walk to run errands so that exercise becomes a normal part of your everyday routine.

4. Increased mental wellbeing

The benefits of exercise, including walking, for our mental health, are well documented. Scientists state that physical activity can cause chemical changes in the brain, such as the release of endorphins, which can positively charge your mood. This, in turn, can increase your levels of motivation and self-esteem, boosting your energy levels.

Then, of course, there is the potential of walking to help you become more mindful. When you aren’t getting stressed by traffic, looking down at a screen on the bus or in a taxi, you can pay more attention to the things around you, often discovering sides of the area where you live that you hadn’t yet discovered.

5. Lower stress levels

Research from the University of East Anglia has found that as well as increasing our general wellbeing, walking to work can actually help us feel less stressed. The study found that people who switched their commute from public transport to walking or cycling actually felt better able to concentrate, and felt like they were under less strain than before.

6. Time to organise your mind

In times such as these, a good walk is a good time to focus or meditate on a problem. Giving more free time to think, it’s the perfect opportunity to organise your mind. You never know, you may end up finding a longed-for solution to a burning problem.

7. Save money

You’d be surprised by how much money you could save just by walking to work or to run errands. The fare you’d usually put aside for public transport, for example, or even the cost of an exercise class will soon add up.

Find out more about ways to increase your daily steps and the benefits at http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/10000stepschallenge.aspx

Do you have concerns about Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Please find our latest update.