Walking helps you to feel better by releasing endorphins in your brain. It can also help you to de-stress. Walking by yourself is a great way to relax; you can listen to music, have time to think things through, or simply take in the sights around you. Walking with friends or family is a great way to catch up and hang out with an added bonus of getting fit at the same time.
A walk in the afternoon or during a lunch break can help you to re-focus and feel more alert.
Getting to places
Did you know that a third of our daily journeys are less than a mile away? Have a think about the regular journeys you make that are less than a mile. For most people it’s the school run, popping out to buy basic provisions like bread and milk, or visiting a friend. Our My Journey Planner can help you plan your journey on foot and tell you how many calories you burn whilst walking that journey.
Walking to better health
Walking twenty minutes a day can dramatically reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. It’s also effective for helping to reduce high blood pressure.
In fact, a brisk 20 minute walk a day can stop inactivity which has recently been shown to be more of a health risk than obesity.
Did you know walking burns as many calories as jogging the same distance? If you walk briskly (about 4mph) you can burn up to 150 calories in 30 minutes. By burning 600 more calories a day than you're eating, you can be sure to lose weight.
Tips for your walking technique
We know you've been doing it since you were a toddler, but getting your walking technique right will help you make the most of this easy exercise:
- Check your posture keep your neck and spine straight and your shoulders back and down
- Think about pulling your stomach in and lifting your pelvis
- Your heel should hit the ground first, then roll through to your toe
- Take shorter steps rather than longer ones – it's easier on the joints and will give you a better work out
- Gently swing your arms to help propel you along. (But you don't need to wiggle your hips or walk like a duck to get the benefits. Unless you want to, of course.)
Want to increase your steps?
The average person walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps per day, and research shows that walking 10,000 steps a day will significantly improve your health if you aren’t very active at the moment.
First, find out how many steps you take in an average week without adding extra walking to your day. If you have a smartphone, you can download a free pedometer app, or using the My Journey Planner to work this out.
Once you know how many steps are in your ‘average’ week, you can start to add to that. It might be that you’re close to 10,000 already, or you might be closer to 1,000. Either way, set a goal amount that’s at least 500 steps higher per day for the second week.