Walking has so many health benefits - and that's not just the type of walking shown here on Walks Around Britain.
All kinds of walking can reduce the risk of many diseases — from heart attack and stroke to hip fracture and glaucoma. It's also a relaxing and enjoyable way to keep healthy - and because you don't have to use expensive equipment, walking is the perfect way to excercise.
How walking can help health and fitness:
Promotes psychological well-being and reduces feelings of stress and depression
Walking is a great way of relieving tension by giving you time away from the strains and stresses of life. Getting out of the stressful environment, breathing the fresh air, getting closer to nature and feeling your body move is natural stress-relief.
Helps people achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
It's well known regular exercise such as walking helps with losing or maintaining weight - and it doesn't have to be loads to make a difference - exercising three times a week for around 30 minutes will help keeping on top of your weight.
Promotes better sleep
Perhaps lesser known is regular exercise such as walking helps with insomnia and other sleep-related problems - the body needs to be fatigued in order to get a good, restful night's sleep, and exercise is a great way of doing this. Again you only have to walk three times a week for around 30 minutes to make a big difference to your sleep.
Reduces tiredness and gives people more energy for everyday tasks
Walking actually increases your energy. When you exercise, endorphins are released - and they keep your energy up, which means you'll want to continue to walking...
Reduces depression and anxiety
These same endorphins help you to feel better about yourself and this leads to a more positive outlook. Also, if you're walking in the beautiful countryside, the very act of being next to nature lifts your mood. Walking can be a social activity and recently studies have shown this increased social interaction actually helps people to live longer!
Helps build and maintain heathy bones, muscles, and joints
Your skeleton grows stronger if you do regular weight-bearing exercise - where you are supporting the weight of your own body. Walking is perfect here - and because it is a low impact exercise which helps to improve bone mass density in the body.
Helps to reduce the risks of many serious health problems in old age
Yes, everyone has to grow old, but medical research suggests it possible to prevent up to 50% of the functional decline often associated with aging through simple exercise programmes such as walking. Also, people who walk regularly are less likely to have hip-replacement operations when older.
Helps to reduce the risk of developing non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes mellitus
Helps to reduce the risks of developing osteoporosis
Helps to reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD)
Helps to lower the risk of developing high blood pressure and helps to reduce blood pressure in people who already have hypertension
Helps to lower total blood cholesterol
Helps to reduce the risk of stroke
Helps to reduce the risk and survival rate of developing colon and breast cancer
Researchers have found women who walk 1 - 3 hours per week after breast cancer diagnosis improve their survival rate by 20-50%. This effect is especially seen in women who have hormone-responsive tumors. Another recent study found women who walked briskly for about an hour on most days of the week were able to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by around 15%.