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  • Mick Hurrell

IN PRAISE OF WALKING – MOVEMENT AS MEDICINE

Perhaps you've been walking 30 minutes or more a day since before Covid restrictions came into effect – or maybe walking is your gateway to a more active lifestyle. Whatever it is, walking is fortunately still one of the things we can do and its well worth taking full advantage of.


You can use walking as genuine form of exercise. As a form of low-impact cardio, a daily stroll boosts your metabolism, is easier on your joints than running, and most importantly, gets you outside each day. And they're only some of the upsides.


Benefits of walking

Improves heart health: Walking can lower your risk of heart-related conditions – think high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes – as much as running.

Increases brain power: The foot’s impact during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that can increase blood supply to your brain.

Helps your mind: Walking in nature has been linked to improved mental

Decreases risk of illness: Regular walking can cut your risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, depression and other life-threatening conditions.


How to get the most out of a walking workout

It’s time to adjust the way you view walking. So, instead of seeing it as that simple activity you do to get from A to B, look at it as a legitimate workout. Which means approaching it as you would any other workout. Technique and form become more important

7 Steps to Good Walking Posture

  • Stand up straight. Visualise being tall and straight, like a tree.

  • Don't lean forward or lean back.

  • Keep your eyes forward.

  • Keep your chin up/parallel to the ground.

  • Keep your shoulders back and relaxed.

  • Draw in your stomach.

  • Tuck in your behind and rotate your hips forward slightly.


Walking 30 Minutes a Day Will Help You Lose Weight

To get the most out of walking for weight loss and to burn the maximum number of calories, it is advised to vary the pace – ie. alternate walking at a steady pace, with walking fast or at a steep incline or on a challenging terrain. You could also add ankle weight or a backpack. Increasing the weight you’re carrying will add to the difficulty and increase your calorie burn substantially.


Try this challenging 30-minute walking workout

Phase 1: 5 minutes: Warm up. Walk at a steady speed that feels comfortable.

Phase 2: 10 minutes: Perform 60-second speed intervals – ie walking as fast as you can – alternated with 60-seconds recovery.

Phase 3: 10 minutes: 40 seconds of speed intervals alternated with 20 seconds recovery.

Phase 4: 5 minutes: Cool down. Walk at a steady and comfortable pace to recover.


How much should I walk everyday if fat loss is my goal?

Before the Coronavirus outbreak the case for making sure you get consistent steps in throughout the day was already strong. However, now we're all more housebound, the arguments are in favour of going on longer and faster walks as your once-daily outdoor activity.

Although there are research-based benefits to walking at any time of the day, walking in the morning has been shown to be more likely to become a lasting habit. Morning aerobic activity such as walking, raise your heart rate and metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day.’

How many steps per day?

Ultimately, there’s no magic formula. Like with any other programme, the goal is to burn more calories than you consume – which will vary largely from person to person.

As a rough guide aim for between 8,000-12,000 steps per day. This can easily be achieved by aiming to increase the number of steps you take daily by around 20%... that equates to getting out for an hour-long brisk walk.

How many calories does walking burn in 30 minutes?

Walking burns anywhere between 90-350 calories per 30 minutes, depending on speed, intensity, incline and your bodyweight.

What shoes are best to walk in?

Walking trainers are different from running trainers. From the way they're designed to function to the levels of support given. However, if you're only going to be trotting around your local park, you won't need quite the same level of infrastructure as walking shoes that'll take you up and down mountains. You need something that'll a) support you, b) be appropriate for your walking terrain and c) not weigh you down.

How can I make walking more exciting?

As well as upping the pace; walking longer, more challenging routes; carrying a weighted backpack, there are other ways of making your walk, more of a workout. In particular, set yourself targets.

Aim to walk a greater number of steps per day or even work up to a bigger challenge – like climbing a small mountain or walking a marathon. It’s all do-able, you just need to build up slowly. Start with 10,000 steps, then aim to walk 2k, then 5km, then 10km and so on.




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