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The Benefits of Walking

Benefits of Walking & Nordic Walking

All walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise walking does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods to improve your health. A 2007 study of inactive women found that even a low level of exercise – around 75 minutes per week – improved their fitness levels significantly, when compared to a non-exercising group.

Walking is low impact, requires minimal equipment, can be done at any time of day and can be performed at your own pace. You can get out and walk without worrying about the risks associated with some more vigorous forms of exercise. Walking is also a great form of physical activity for people who are overweight, elderly, or who have not exercised in a long time.

Add Nordic Walking poles for increased benefit.

Health benefits of walking

You carry your own body weight when you walk. This is known as weight-bearing exercise. Some of the benefits include:

  • increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness
  • reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
  • improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes
  • stronger bones and improved balance
  • increased muscle strength and endurance
  • reduced body fat.

How far should I walk each day?

To get the health benefits, try to walk for at least 30 minutes as briskly as you can on most days of the week. ‘Brisk’ means that you can still talk but not sing, and you may be puffing slightly. Moderate activities such as walking pose little health risk but, if you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program of physical activity.

Getting the best from your walks

Walking for 30 minutes daily will help to increase your fitness levels and reduce the risk of some health conditions. However, if it is too difficult for you to walk for 30 minutes at one time, do regular small bouts (10 minutes) three times per day and gradually build up to longer sessions.

Make walking part of your daily routine:

  • Try to walk at the same time each day so it becomes a habit.
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift.
  • Get off public transport one stop earlier and walk to work or home.
  • Walk (do not drive) to the local shops.
  • Walk the dog (or your neighbour’s dog).
  • Walk with a friend, family or walking group.
  • Keep a diary of your walks.
  • Count your steps – use a pedometer, sports watch, or phone App.
  • Vary where you walk.
  • Vary the speed at which you walk.
  • Walk up hills.
  • Walk with hand weights.
  • Increase the length of your walks.

Warming up and cooling down after walking

When you join our Walks for All programme will we show you how to warm up before your walks and how to cool down following your walks to ensure you get the most from your walks and  reduce your risk of injuries

Additional Benefits of Nordic Walking

Nordic walking combines cardiovascular exercise with a vigorous muscle workout for your shoulders, arms, core, and legs. “When you walk without poles, you activate muscles below the waist. When you add Nordic poles, you activate all of the muscles of the upper body as well. You’re engaging 80% to 90% of your muscles, as opposed to 50%, providing a substantial calorie-burning benefit.

Lots of evidence confirms that Nordic walking burns more calories than regular walking-estimates range from an increase of 18% to 67% more.

Nordic walking is also associated with reductions in  depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and waist circumference, and increases in endurance, muscle strength and flexibility, walking distance, cardiovascular fitness, and quality of life.

Another benefit is increased stability when you use poles, because you have more ground contact points and you’re not relying on two feet alone.

Plus, Nordic walking is fun and can be a great social activity

Walking & weight Loss

Physical activity, such as walking, is important for weight control because it helps you burn calories. If you add 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn about 150 more calories a day.So keep walking, but make sure you also eat a healthy diet. The more you walk and the quicker your pace, the more calories you’ll burn.

When you add Nordic walking poles you can burn between 18%-67% more calories than regular walking.

Walking 1 hour each day can help you burn calories and, in turn, lose weight. In one study, 11 moderate-weight women lost an average of 17 pounds (7.7 kg), or 10% of their initial body weight, after 6 months of brisk daily walking.

Research Articles on the Benefits of Walking & Nordic Walking