The benefits of walking for fitness

The benefits of walking for fitness

Author: Sarah Davies

Did you know that May is National Walking Month? With pleasantly warm days and longer evenings, late spring is the perfect time of year to step out and start walking. Walking is not only a fun and sociable activity to enjoy, its health and fitness benefits are proven to stay with you right through to later life, so take a step in the right direction and start enjoying the benefits of regular walking this May.

Walking is good for your heart

Walking is an achievable cardiovascular exercise that doesn’t have to be strenuous.

Cardiovascular exercise strengthens your heart and improves its function by engaging in activities that increase your heart rate.

The British Heart Foundation advocates walking for good heart health with many benefits including reducing the risk of heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis. Walking also increases your good cholesterol and lowers your bad cholesterol.

Walking for an average of 30 minutes or more a day can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by 35% percent and type 2 diabetes by 40%.

Walking keeps you in shape

Walking is one of the easiest and most accessible forms of exercise. Introducing just a little bit of walking into your daily routine can help you to maintain a healthy weight and keep you strong and well.

30 minutes of walking can burn 100-200 calories whilst also toning and strengthening your muscles.

Walking can lower your risk of dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, taking regular physical exercise is one of the best things that you can do to reduce your risk of getting dementia.

Several studies show that regular exercise for middle-aged people can significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia in later life by around 30 per cent.

A person who stays physically fit in middle and older age by walking two and a half hours a week is less likely to develop dementia.

Walking makes you feel good

The exercise-induced endorphins released from walking will make you feel good and boost your happiness, especially if combined with absorbing some Vitamin D outdoors in the fresh air.

Exercise like walking significantly increases mood-enhancing serotonin production in the body.

Walking also helps your circulation and increases the oxygen supply around your body, preventing you from feeling lethargic and keeping you feeling alert and energised.

A daily walk is excellent for mental health and can help with daily stress, anxiety, and depression.

Walking is sociable

Walking is a fantastic activity to do with friends or family, it is easily accessible and enjoyable for all age groups.

Walking is a wonderful way to discover new places together and explore your local area on foot whilst socialising as you walk and talk.

How to get walking

There are lots of different walking groups around the UK. Ramblers is Britain’s biggest and walking community helping thousands of walkers find their feet. The Hampshire Ramblers has 15 walking groups exploring a variety of walks in the county, and the Hampshire 40+ Walking Group is a Ramblers group in Hampshire catering for a wide variety of abilities.

It can be fun and useful to track your walking using a pedometer or a walking app that can help you plan your routes, set goals, and see the health benefits from your walk. Map My Walk is one of the most comprehensive free walking apps allowing you to see your routes and walking stats. The Fitbit app allows you to view progress towards your daily goals for steps, distance, calories burned, and active minutes. Strava can be used to track walking and other activities like cycling and is great for connecting you to other walkers in your area. OS Maps is an unlimited mapping on any device making it easy for you to explore the great outdoors.

Walking at The Dower House

The Dower House is a nursing home in the Hampshire countryside near Winchester.

Our five and a half acres of splendidly landscaped gardens are very much a part of life at The Dower House. Our beautiful surroundings lend themselves to stunning walks and we encourage our residents to walk and do other activities together to enjoy the health and social benefits of regular exercise.

If you’d like to book a visit to find out more about The Dower House and to view the facilities, please call us on 01962 882848 or click the ‘Book a visit’ button at the top of the page.

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