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Walking is the closest thing to perfect exercise.

It's recommended that everyone should be active for at least 30 minutes a day, for five days of the week.

Walking is a great way to achieve this as you can build it into your day instead of trying to find time for it.

You don't have to do the whole 30 minutes straight away - you can break it down into 3 ten minute walks or 2 fifteen minute walks.

The importance of physical activity and health

Achieving your recommended 30 minutes of activity a day can help prevent the development of certain diseases. It can also reduce the symptoms of some of the following diseases.

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the UK, killing more than 100,000 people a year. 1 in 4 men and 1 in 6 women will die from this disease.

Walking is a great way to keep your heart strong and reduce the risk of developing Coronary Heart Disease. Without regular exercise you double your chance of developing this disease.

Stroke

It's estimated that around 150,000 people have a stroke each year. More than 250,000 people live with disabilities caused by strokes.

Walking can prevent and help reduce the development of high blood pressure which can cause strokes as well as reducing the effects of high blood pressure.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is becoming increasingly more common due to an increase in the amount of people who are obese. Regular exercise can reduce the chances of developing diabetes by 33% - 50%.

Obesity

In England, more than 2/3 of women and 3/4 of men aged between 55 and 74 are overweight or obese. This is set to rise according to current trends over the next couple of years.

In order to maintain a healthy weight we need a healthy diet to regulate how much energy we take in as well as using exercise like walking to manage the amount of energy we use. Ideally we want to use more energy than we take in.

Mental Health

1 in 4 people will experience some form of mental health problem in a year.

Taking part in regular physical activity can help improve your mood, relieve depression, improve your sleep and make you feel like you have more energy

Making new friends and being part of a group can alleviate the feelings of isolation and loneliness. The social element of each walk is a key thing for good mental health.

Not enough time to go walking?

Here are some helpful tips on how to build your 30 minutes of walking into your day.

  • Walk to the local shop or postbox
  • Get off the bus a stop early
  • Park the car further away from the supermarket
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Borrow a friend's dog and take it for a walk
  • Walk the children to school

The best way to keep doing something is to build it into your daily routine.

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Page Information
This page was last reviewed 27 December 2012 at 15:15 by Maria Crabbe.
The page is next due for review 25 June 2013.
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