A recent survey of 5000 adults in Edinburgh, carried out by the city council, found that only 32% met the target of at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate exercise a week. This comes at the same time as the World Health Organisation’s worrying announcement that the fourth biggest global killer is inactivity.
Should you find yourself worried that you too don’t meet this target, never fear. You don’t have to run marathons to get the recommended amount of exercise and be fit. Regular walks can do just the trick and it’s important that you take them.
Studies show that active individuals can cut their blood pressure in half and even reduce their risk of heart disease by 40%. Not to mention reduce the risk of recurrent breast cancer by 50% and the likelihood of contracting colon cancer by more than 60%.
The benefits of regular moderate exercise span further than physical health. Walking and other such forms of gentle exercise can have long-term advances for an individual’s mental health too, with research showing that this eases depression as effectively as undergoing behavioural therapy or using Prozac. Periodic activity has also been proven to decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
So how can I get more active, I hear you ask. Well, It’s actually easier than you think.
1. Track your walking – and visualise it!
First of all, use a pedometer or walking app to track how much you’re already walking in your day-to-day life. It might be more than you think, but no matter what it adds up to having this measurement will help you understand how easy it is to get those extra few steps in each day.
Use your pedometer or walking app to set yourself targets – add a few steps a day gradually to achieve long-term progress.
2. Get off the bus and hop out of the car
Walk instead of getting on public transport or driving, wherever you can. Whether that’s swapping the bus, train or car for walking altogether or getting off a few stops early to walk an extra mile – or perhaps park the car that bit further away than you usually would. The same goes for swapping the lift for the stairs. Whatever ways you can add an extra stroll into your daily routine, do!
3. Weekend walks
Making walking part of your weekend doesn’t have to be a drag. Keep it interesting by going out to the countryside and taking a long stroll (if you’ve got a dog you can take along to keep you going then all the better!). Explore new places and make it enjoyable by stopping off and treating yourself to a bite to eat in new places you stumble across as you wander.
4. Psychogeography – good for your body and brain
Psychogeography encourages a better understanding of the areas around us. By walking through urban cities – particularly areas of town you haven’t explored much before – we can develop a better grasp of our geographical environment. Not only does this keep our bodies active, but our minds active too as we come across things we haven’t seen before and eventually get to know where we live better, piecing together our surroundings.
Need more advice on staying healthy, combating cardiovascular issues or simply achieving weight loss goals? Call Express Pharmacy today 0208 123 0703.