Walking Your Way to Health
‛The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy.
The best way to lengthen our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose’—Charles Dickens
Did Dickens, a keen walker, write these words during one of his stays in Pickwick, Corsham?
Stay Healthy, Stay Well
Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. Regular walking can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers. See what the NHS says about walking:www.nhs.uk
Put your heart into walking. The British Heart Foundation book provides excellent support and information. Keep your heart healthy; reduce blood pressure and the risk of stroke. www.bhf.org.uk
Older men can reduce their risk of stroke simply by walking more. www.bhf.org.uk
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is on the increase and it is estimated that 1 in 3 adults could be pre-diabetic. Type 2 diabetes costs the NHS about £9 billion each year. Walking can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. www.diabetes.org.uk.
For people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes walking can improve control. www.diabetes.org.uk/About us
Walking is a strength and balance activity which can help prevent falls and strengthen bones. www.nhs.uk/Conditions
The obesity epidemic
Walking can help lose weight. Challenge yourself to build up to 10,000 steps a day, which would burn 400 – 500 extra calories. Eating 500 fewer calories a day is needed to lose 1 lb a week – a massive 52 lbs in a year, over 3.5 stones! But beware the accidental calories: stopping during your walk for a cappuccino and chocolate muffin is a massive 560 calories!
The Perfect Mood Lifter
Walking can play a major role in lifting your mood. It helps to release endorphins, or “feel‐good” chemicals in the brain. Walking may also help in the fight against depression. How walking can improve your mood.
Enjoy the lovely Wiltshire countryside, parks and open spaces. There is clear evidence that walking in green spaces helps reduce stress and sadness. Even walking in town and observing the beauty of people’s gardens can bring a smile to your face.
Walking can be a really social event. Loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: research shows that lacking social connections is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Walking for Health’s weekly local walks combine walking with building friendships. It always ends with a cuppa – and it’s free! For details see Get Wiltshire Walking.
No special kit needed!
To start with you can use any shoes or trainers that are comfortable, provide adequate support and don’t cause blisters. If you progress to walking on uneven ground then investing in walking boots or shoes with good support is advisable.
No time, too busy?
Try and build additional steps into your daily routine. Get off the bus a stop early, use the toilet upstairs at home or on a different floor at work, park in the far corner of the car park, walk round the house as you chat on the phone. Every step counts and improves your fitness and well being.
A 10 minute daily Mindful Walking practice
Walking meditation gives us an opportunity to gather our awareness which so often becomes distracted or stuck. When walking anywhere, it can guide us out of a distracted autopilot mode.