National Fitness Day is in the news this week, not long after the news was full of exhortations to exercise more by walking. Even a brisk ten minutes walk can have more benefit than you realise. Walking is the simplest exercise you can do, you don’t need lessons or special equipment or membership or fancy clothes. You only need comfortable shoes and maybe a coat if it’s a bit cold out. And a front door to walk out of!
Why is walking in the news?
These days people are less active than in days gone by – we drive more, we spend many hours a week sitting or engaged in fairly sedentary indoor activity. Public Health England’s survey discovered that
‘4 out of 10 (41%) adults aged 40 to 60 in England walk less than 10 minutes
continuously each month at a brisk pace’
That lack of activity is a factor in the growing levels of health issues to do with obesity, cardiovascular and respiratory illness. A ten minute walk is just nipping down to the shop for a paper or a pint of milk – that’s how easy it is.
Why is walking such a good thing?
To put it simply, our bodies are built to walk. Walking assists in the function of our circulation, breathing and all our organs. The movement and gentle exertion gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing all around the body. Richard Madeley describes how regular walking saved him from the slippery slope of deteriorating health, on the National Fitness day website blog.
Taking a walk can be just a practical thing, for example to go on an errand, or a social thing. You could walk to visit a neighbour, or you could walk with a friend to chat, or walk your dog and meet with other dog walkers. Being outdoors in the fresh air and connecting with nature and the earth is relaxing. Walking and talking with a companion is as old as the hills.
What if walking is difficult or painful?
It doesn’t have to be. You can improve your mobility and ease your joints with gentle stretches and movement, you can begin at the easiest level and gradually work up to more exertion. Of course, your osteopath can help and advise you along the way. You will be amazed at how your body responds to gentle consistent exercise.
Does it have to be harder when you’re older?
No. But it’s a case of Use It or Loose It, or more precisely, Move It or Loose It. Again, your osteopath can guide you if you need motivation or an MOT to help you get going.
So – what’s stopping you? Go for a walk!