The UK Chief Medical Officers recommend adults do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. One way of achieving this would be walk 30 minutes on five days a week. The recommendation for children is at least 60 minutes every day and preferably more.
Inactivity is a key factor in the dramatic growth of obesity. 61% of English adults and 30% of children are overweight or obese. All walking is beneficial, but for the greatest benefits to heart, lungs and blood pressure, brisk is best. You should be breathing a little faster, feeling a little warmer and can feel your heart beating a little faster, but you still feel comfortable and are able to talk.
Regular brisk walking will:
- Improve performance of the heart, lungs and circulation
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes – inactive and unfit people have double the risk of dying from CHD
Walking regularly at any speed will:
- Help manage weight.
- Reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Reduce the risk of certain cancers such colon, breast and lung cancer Improve flexibility and strength of joints, muscles and bones, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Increase “good” cholesterol
- Boost the immune system
- Improve mood, reduce anxiety, aid sleep and improve self-image