Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Benefits of Regular Walking

I have become a critical friend of a lovely Italian man called Umberto. He blogs regularly about wellness and fitness matters, and then he’ll invite me to feedback because he values my opinion. I’ll quickly explain that Umberto is the expert and that I do not fit the profile as someone who is athletic; I think it’s simply my snappy vignettes that he likes to receive.
I read one of Umberto’s recent posts about the benefits of regular walking; it got me thinking about a specific demographic that seems to be exercising more than they were doing. Since the 2012 Olympics, the amount of young men and women pursuing their cycling and running vocations has definitely increased. I would even go as far as to say young people are looking healthier and a little less weighty generally speaking. Perhaps it’s an indicator of living in leaner times of late!
For our children, unless an activity is part of the curriculum it doesn't get funding. The government have invested an additional 150 m for PE and this is part of the revised curriculum coming into statutory force, Sept 2014.  Swimming instruction for pupils working at Key Stage 1 and 2, is, and will continue to be, funded, but I’m guessing schools will still look to parents for contributions towards some sports provision. Sceptically speaking, parents have been buying essential requirements for curriculum based study such as books and stationery items for a long time. So you see, they make it up as they go and it is hard to demystify the tricks they play and to understand how the money is spent; but, hey, this is an argument for another day. One thing I did notice yesterday was a group of six or so school boys simply riding their bikes on the road together. They weren't the trail blazing types, nor were they sufficiently equipped for the skate park acrobatics, they’d obviously agreed to meet and were straightforwardly cycling from an A to destination B – a rare sight when active engagement for young boys usually means with the technological world.

Back to walking and as Umberto states in his post I mentioned (view it here) - 30 minutes, 3 days a week of moderate paced walking has proven to be very good for you and I am sure he will not mind that I have copied in list of benefits:

·         Walking prevents type 2 diabetes
·         Walking strengthen your heart
·         Walking is good for your brain
·         Walking is good for your bones
·         Walking helps alleviate the symptoms of depression
·         Walking reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer
·         Walking improves fitness
·         Walking improves physical function

Walking has kept my mother healthy, without a doubt. She turns 80 this year. She never learned to drive and has always walked to the shops and to appointments in her locality on a daily basis and she still walks over 3 miles once a week to the city centre where she lives and sometimes she’ll walk back home again in the same morning. Admittedly her walking is not hiking style, nor has she undertaken an exercise programme where fat burning is the aim but my mum has never had a problem with her weight, and, subsequently, has enjoyed good health for all of her life.

A couple of friends of mine have become nothing short of obsessive with running and power walking through the parks and I've seen them both drop down 3 dress sizes, and when at the peak of their fitness 
they look years younger.

I am becoming more and more interested in knowing the benefits that low intensity exercise can bring, so I've been wearing an OMRON Walking Style One 2.1 Step Counter on my more active days when I’ll go out for a 40 minute brisk walk, and on my inactive days when I sit at the desk working and so doing much less stepping out in comparison.

This is a slim line device with a secure clip that will fit on your waistband which measures the intensity of a walking activity and then can calculate the approximate amount of calories burned over 24 hours.

Active Day      - 8000 steps – 1.6 miles walked – 166 calories burned
In Active Day  - 1696 steps -  0.3 miles walked  – 1 calorie burned

Results revealed the days of inactivity (working at the computer) I am burning so few calories that I could only maintain or lose weight by reducing my calorie intake, if my aim was to lose weight. Whereas I would only need to include three Active Days to my fitness routine and I’d be burning up over 500 calories through taking walks over the course of a week.

thank you for reading my ramblings. Until next time!

1 comment:

  1. Very good read. Particularly interesting the difference in the figures between "active" and "inactive" days - it should be a definite eye opener and prompt people to be more active. Walking only requires a little bit of time and consistency.


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