Small steps can make a big health change in National Walking Month

Walking has a whole host of different health benefits that people can use to motivate them to introduce it into their daily routine which is why NHS Southend and NHS Castle Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) are supporting National Walking Month throughout May.

Now the evenings are lighter for longer it’s the perfect time to get outside and get walking.

Walking is good for your heart

The heart is responsible for pumping the oxygen and blood around the body and keeping all the other organs working. So it’s important to keep it in tip top condition. Walking not only strengthens the heart but also reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes. In fact a brisk walk for 30 minutes every day is said to reduce the risk of a stroke considerably. It also reduces bad levels of cholesterol and increases the levels of good cholesterol too.

Walking helps you to lose weight

If you are new to exercise, or maybe trying to lose weight gradually in order to keep it off, then walking is a great form of exercise. A walk at around 2mph for 30 minutes will burn around 75 calories, and if this increases to 4mph this will rise to around 150 calories. 20 minutes of walking a day will burn an incredible 7lbs of body fat a year.

You can lower your risk of dementia

An older person who walks six or more miles a week is less likely to have problems such as dementia. This is because walking has been proven to prevent the brain from shrinking.

Walking gives you energy

There are times when people feel more lethargic than others. If this is the case then a walk could do you good. It boosts circulation and increases the oxygen supply around the body, which in turn will keep an individual feeling alert and awake.

It’s a full body workout

Many muscles in the body are activated during walking including; calves, glutes, hamstrings, quads and abdominals, so give it a try and give the legs, bums and tum a workout.

Increase your Vitamin D intake

Across the UK there are lots of people who are deficient in Vitamin D. The best way to increase your levels of Vitamin D is to get outside in the sunshine. Vitamin D is good for bone health, as well as the immune system, which is why it is important to try and increase the levels where possible in the body.

Walking makes you happy

In the same way walking can help people feel energised, a brisk walk can be just as beneficial as taking an antidepressant, and can be a great helping hand if an individual suffers from depression, anxiety or stress.

These are just some of the reasons why it’s beneficial to introduce walking to a daily routine. Whether it’s a walk at lunchtime as part of a work routine, or the day starts with a walk, why not try it and feel the many health benefits allowing people to take more direct control over their health.

Tricia D’Orsi, NHS Southend and NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG Chief Nurse said: “A few steps each day can make a big difference to everyone’s lives. Whether it’s walking the children to school, taking the dog for a runabout in the park or exploring destinations on foot, walking is free, healthy and helps support a healthy mind and body. Many people get less than 30 minutes exercise per week so incorporating more walking into a daily routine some small steps could make a big difference.”

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