Word on Health

Word on Just Walking

Our grateful thanks to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) for their contribution to our radio report. If you would like to find out how you can turn your walking into funds to support heart research click here to visit the BHF 'Just Walk' site.

Physical inactivity is associated with 1 in 6 deaths across the UK and estimated to cost the UK £7.4 billion annually including £0.9 billion to the NHS alone.

Around 1 in 3 (34%) of men and 1 in 2 (42%) of women are not active enough for good health.

Many of us don’t realise that physical activity has significant benefits for our health, both physical and mental, and can help to prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions and diseases, including some cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.

Throughout the UK we are around 20% less active than in the 1960s. Experts believe if current trends continue, we will be 35% less active by 2030.

The UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines recommend each week adults do:

  • at least 150 minutes moderate intensity activity (75 minutes’ vigorous activity, or a mixture of both)
  • strengthening activities on two days
  • reducing extended periods of sitting.

Walking - The free and easy way to boost your health.  Adding more more exercise into your daily routine can significantly lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, many types of cancer, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, depression and other mental illnesses, osteoporosis and falls in later life...as well as boost performance at work, counter lethargy, stress and depression....give yourself a daily dose of walking!!  

Getting started !  Although 30 minutes of brisk walking a day is recommended, you don’t have to do it all in one go. The important thing is that you make a start at a level you're comfortable with, and then build it up.  For example, you might walk for 10 minutes of brisk walking three times a day or 15 minutes twice a day at first. (If you havent exercised for a long time and have any existing conditions - always best to double check with your GP/Doctor)

What should I wear? A good pair of shoes is the only equipment required - any shoes that are comfortable, provide good support and don't cause blisters. (Outdoor persuits shops can give advice on cross country footwear - sports shops can provide advice on supportive training shoes for urban walkers.) Loose fitting clothing allows you to move more freely.  Wear thin layers rather than heavy, chunky clothing!

If it's a hot day, take a bottle of water, a sun hat and sun cream (factor 30 plus) .

Make it a habit  The easiest way to walk more is to build it into your daily routine.

  • Think before you drive less than a mile - walk to the local shop or post box.
  • Even if it’s not practical to walk the whole way to your destination - get off the bus, train or tram a couple of stops in advance. 
  • If you drive, park a little further away than usual or try a mixture of public transport and walking.
  • It can be as simple as stepping outside to eat lunch a little way from the office, or walking to a business meeting with colleagues
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Borrow a friend's dog and take it for a walk 
  • Walk the children/grandchildren to school
  • Find a friend to go on regular walks with – making a commitment to someone else helps keep you motivated on days when you’d struggle to get out the door on your own.

Listen to this weeks radio report

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.