Walking is an easy way to stay fit and healthy but why and how far should we  walk each day? Here are some of your questions answered.

Benefits of walking

As the weather gets warmer ??? many of us are starting to get out walking. Fitness and wellness coaches like myself are setting up walking challenges to encourage people to move more. But what are the benefits of walking? Why the magic number of 10,000 steps per day? Where should we walk? Here are some of those questions answered.

The benefits of walking are many and varied and much depends on the when, how far and how fast you walk. As humans we are designed to walk and to move around constantly. Today’s environment is designed for us to walk and move as little as possible. The benefits can include improved fitness levels, increased calorie burn, increased strength and mobility, improved control of blood sugar levels, improved mood, better sleep

Walking is seen as a moderate form of exercise, but taking in hills can make walking more vigorous and challenge your cardiovascular system. Regular hill walking can greatly improve cardiovascular health compared to walking on a flat surface. Hill walking will use more quads, hamstrings, glutes and lower legs (making stretching afterwards more important), as opposed to walking on a flat surface or treadmill.

Walking is cheap all you need is good shoes and comfortable clothes. It is a low impact exercise therefore making it less likely to cause injury than higher impact exercises while still giving you many of the benefits. It is easy to fit into your daily routine.

Why 10,000 steps per day? 10,000 steps were a member popularised in Japan, recent research has shown that less steps still produces results but it is a good number to aim for on a daily basis if you are reasonably healthy and starting to walk.

To improve fitness and muscle strength try to add in some hill and faster paced walking into you walks or grab a friend and turn it into more of a social activity. Whatever the number of steps or pace and time it is good to fit a walk into your daily life for mental and physical health without getting too caught up on the numbers.

Elaine x