09:44 Saturday 02 March 2013

Walking for heart-health

Written byHeart Research

Recent studies have shown that less than two in five people in England are meeting the current recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week and even fewer people aged 65 years and over are sufficiently active. (Source: Department of Health, 2012)

Couple Walking in parkWalking is a free, simple, effective and safe way for people of all ages to improve activity levels and lead a healthier lifestyle. It is a great way to improve fitness levels and can help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma and stroke, as well as several cancers. Walking also helps to keep healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, control weight and enhance your overall well-being.

As spring and lighter evenings are just around the corner, Heart Research UK has some helpful tips to set you on the road to regular walking.

  • Walking with family or a group of friends will make it even more enjoyable and fun (rather than a form of exercise which can be off-putting for many).

  • Make sure your walking shoes are comfortable and provide sufficient support so you can walk further for a healthier heart and enjoy the experience for longer.

  • Take a backpack on long walks with water for hydration and healthy snacks such as fruit, unsalted nuts and vegetable crudités for energy as well as a high factor sunscreen for skin protection.

  • If you’re new to walking, start out slowly and gradually build up to at least 30 minutes on most days to achieve the recommended physical activity levels.

  • Use a pedometer to track your progress and aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.

  • Walking at moderate intensity is a very effective way to improve heart-health; that means walking at an intensity that increases the heart rate and makes you feel slightly breathless and several degrees warmer.

  • For those looking for something more vigorous, sign up for an organised walking event such as Heart Research UK's Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, Ben Nevis Climb or Walk For All to set yourself a real fitness challenge.

 

The time has come to put on your walking shoes, step out and explore the big, green outdoors for a brighter and healthier future.

For more information and advice about healthy living or if you want find out more about our events contact Heart Research on 0113 234 7474 or email lifestyle@heartresearch.org.uk.

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