The NHS advises that regular brisk walking can reduce the risk of conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes (by around 60%), asthma, stroke and some cancers. It’s a cardiovascular exercise which lowers levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. By boosting circulation, walking also helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that can cause strokes. According to The Stroke Association, the activity can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 27%. Cancer charities say it reduces your risk of developing colon, breast or womb cancer by around 20%. Dementia affects one in 14 people aged over 65. Walking six miles or more a week can help prevent brain shrinkage and preserve memory as we get older.
Adults are advised to do 150 minutes of weekly exercise or take 10,000 steps a day. If you attend Walkfit three times a week, you’ll easily achieve that – keeping your heart and fitness tracker happy! The more activity you do the better, as regular exercise has many benefits.
Someone weighing 70kg (about 11 stone) who walks at 2mph for 30 minutes burns around 75 calories. Double your distance and walk briskly, as we do at Walkfit, and that’s 300 calories burnt without considering any bodyweight exercises. That’s three biscuits or a doughnut (not that you should snack on those afterwards or you’ll be undoing all your good work!) Combine this with a reduced calorie intake, like this to 12-week NHS plan and you’ll lose pounds at a healthy rate.
A good, regular walk – especially on an incline – helps to tone the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes giving shape to your legs and buttocks. Keep your posture upright with your shoulders pulled back while you walk and you’ll also tone your core and waist.
We need Vitamin D in our bodies because it helps us to absorb calcium and phosphate from the foods we eat. These minerals, in turn, help us develop and maintain healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to weak or deformed bones, lethargy and a poor immune system. Our body creates vitamin D when direct sunlight shines on our skin and it’s also found in oily fish, red meat, eggs and some fortified foods like cereal, margarine and formula milk. We can’t guarantee good weather in the UK, but we can get you out there to maximise your chances of getting sufficient Vitamin D so that you reap its benefits.
It sounds counterintuitive, but expending energy gives you more energy. Walking briskly boosts your circulation by making your blood flow quicker, increasing the supply of oxygen to every cell in your body and replenishing them with all the nutrients the blood carries. This all helps to make you feel more alert. Studies have shown that a brisk walk is also just as effective at reducing mild to moderate depression as medication. That’s because exercise releases feel-good endorphins into your blood stream which reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
You’ll meet like-minded people from all sorts of different backgrounds at our Walkfit classes. Talkfit and Laughfit is encouraged as well as a post-class coffee and catch up. Online chatting and event planning is often spawned by the WhatsApp and Facebook groups formed with your Walkfit friends. And the instructors are a laugh too!