This Morning: Expert discusses the health benefits of walking
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Walking is an exercise that can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, shed body fat and boost muscle power, as well as reducing your risk of developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Dr Ellie spoke on This Morning about why and how everyone should incorporate it into their lives.
Walking is a simple, accessible and cost effective way to lose weight and improve mental health, according to an expert.
Dr Ellie said: “There are so many health benefits.
“It doesn’t matter if that’s gentle walking, fast walking, uphill walking – it’s just about getting out there.”
This exercise is especially vital as people move into later life: “There are studies that show that it’s good for age related memory loss.”
There is one group in particular that benefits from walking.
“It’s great for post-menopausal women because it’s what we call a weight bearing exercise, which is really good for your bones and muscle strength.”
Dr Ellie suggested that when it comes to walking “every little helps”.
Whether it’s a brisk weekend walk with friends over a coffee or an evening stroll after work, walking is something that be incorporated into peoples’ daily exercise and social routines.
Dr Ellie added that one of the best things about walking is that it’s free, so slimmers can lose weight even if they’re “feeling the pinch”.
She stated: “We can all afford to walk.”
While Britain is now relatively free of Covid restrictions, the “sedentary” lifestyle the country was forced into has left many with bad habits.
A vast number of people are still working from home, meaning that their commute to work is almost non-existent.
It is crucial that people reintegrate walking into their lives post lockdown.
The benefits of walking are not just physical, but mental too.
Holly Willoughby added that “we feel better when we’re surrounded by nature”.
Especially with the “lovely weather” that the UK is currently experiencing, Dr Ellie believes that now is the perfect time to maximise in walking outdoors.
To make walking more scenic, she recommended doing circuits around the park as opposed to streets.
Rather than intense gym classes or daunting 5k park runs, walking around their local area is something most people can access regardless of age or ability.
It’s an activity that can be built in to day-to-day life in several creative ways.
Those who want to slim down, better their heart health or simply improve their mood can make changes such as getting off the bus one stop earlier and walking the rest of the way to work to up their step count.
Anyone can “build it into their day” by making conscious decisions such as saying no to lifts and escalators and yes to the stairs, or taking a longer walking route to work.
Walking can even become a social affair by inviting a partner or friend along.
Holly Willoughby shared her own hack for making walking enjoyable: “A dog is the best thing”.
Dr Ellie added that people should focus on walking themselves as much as they do their furry friends.
She said: “We are animals and we’re not supposed to be sitting still.”
Walking can even be made more challenging by adding weights or incline.
The NHS website stated: “You do not have to walk for hours. A brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.”
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