Walking and Health

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?

Walking For Health

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. All you need is a good pair of shoes or trainers that provide some support.

‘Walking is man’s best medicine’Hippocrates

Looking After Your Heart

Just look what happens when you exercise. Watch this British Heart Foundation (BHF) video to see the benefits of exercise. Remember a walk where you start to feel warmer and breathe a little heavier is an excellent form of exercise. (If you have a health condition it is advisable to check with your doctor before you start a new exercise programme).

Click here to watch the video clip:

Watch: What happens when you exercise? – BHF

The BHF promotes walking to help prevent many heart and circulation related illnesses and to aid recovery after illness. No matter the time of year getting out for a walk into the fresh air provides so many benefits. Just look at the weather and plan your walk and clothing accordingly. The BHF have sound advice for both summer and winter walking.

Top tips for summer walking – Heart Matters magazine (bhf.org.uk)

The wonders of winter walking – Heart Matters magazine (bhf.org.uk)

Type 2 Diabetes

For some, illness can be prevented or their severity reduced by weight loss and exercise. One of the best ways to get into exercise is to start taking a daily walk. It does not even need to be very far to begin with. Even a 10 minute brisk walk can help you to reduce weight, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Walking can help prevent type 2 diabetes. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes walking is a great way to help manage the condition. Apart from the cost to the NHS, Type 2 diabetes is a disease that you don’t want to get! Read more here:

Moving more to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes (Diabetes UK)

COVID-19

COVID-19 saw many people walk during lockdown. This continued as restrictions were eased slightly. Many found walking a new and rewarding hobby. COVID-19 also raised serious concerns about the health of the nation and the high rate of hospitalisation and death.

The 17th July 2020 edition of The Lancet reported: ‘Among those with severe COVID-19 and those who died, there is a high prevalence of concomitant conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.’

Lifting Your Mood

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. 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.

‘A vigorous 5-mile walk will do more for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world’
Paul D White (physician and cardiologist)

Walking Socially

Loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: research shows that lacking social connections is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The pandemic for some has intensified the feelings of loneliness, especially for those who live alone. Going for a walk with someone can really help. It is sometimes easier to talk when active rather than sitting and trying to think of something to say. Enjoying the beauty of the great outdoors, whether its admiring gardens and the local park or listening to beautiful bird song in the country, can really raise the spirits. Walking for Health’s weekly local walks combine walking with building friendships. And it’s free! The walks are starting a phased return from 4 May 2021. For details see Get Wiltshire Walking. If you would like to join a walking group there is information on the Corsham Wanderers walking group in the MORE … section of this website.

So get on those walking shoes and take yourself out for a walk. Or join a walking group or ask a friend to go for a walk. And, you will be improving your health as an added bonus!

‘It’s the not exactly knowing of the way, the map thrown away that makes the setting sun the guide, and makes the setting come alive.’ – Art Garfunkel