Walking to good health….
You don’t have to be a marathon walker to see big results from just walking every day. We are designed as human beings to walk continuously for 8 hours. Sadly we have become a sedentary race. No more do we see kids walking to school as we did in the 60’s the cars dropping off kids to school now outnumber the walkers 10:1. Not many people do physical work as is evident by the lack of people taking up physical trades.
Australia is now ranking as the 25th obese nation in the world. Obesity rates in Australia and New Zealand have soared by more than 80 per cent in the past 33 years, the biggest increase in a groundbreaking survey of almost 200 countries.
The findings, which reveal almost one in three Australians is obese, intensifies pressure on the government to restrict junk food marketing, restore the healthy food-star rating system and force companies to cut sugar and fat in processed food and drink.
However according to professor Rob Moody who states, ”Waiting for a cure is not possible,” says Rob Moodie, the professor of public health at the University of Melbourne. ”The public health system will be crushed by the obesity crisis and the rise in cancer, heart disease and diabetes.” (Carroll, 2014)
Australia is one of the fattest nations, jumping almost 40 places to 25th in obesity ranking, just behind the US but well ahead of France, Finland, Germany and Japan.
By simply cutting back on food (calories) and walking just an hour a day will make a huge benefit to your well-being….
Start today you will be surprised how much better you feel.
Benefits of walking:
It’s a gentle, low-impact form of exercise that’s easy, free and suitable for people of all ages and most abilities. Here’s why it’s so good for you
1. It strengthens your heart
Regular walking has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. It lowers levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and keeps blood pressure in check.
According to the Stroke Association, walking briskly for up to 30 minutes can help prevent and control the high blood pressure that can cause strokes – reducing your risk by up to 27 per cent.
2. It lowers disease risk
As well as heart disease, a walking habit can slash your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, asthma and some cancers. A study in the British Medical Journal showed taking more steps every day can help ward off diabetes. And according to the charity walking For Health, regular exercise such as walking could reduce risk by up to 60 per cent. Those of us who are active have around a 20 per cent lower risk of developing cancer of the colon, breast and womb than those least active.
3. It keeps weight in check
“If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to burn about 600 calories a day more than you’re eating,” says Amory. “Putting one foot in front of the other is one of the easiest ways to do that.” A person weighing 60kg burns 75 calories simply by strolling at 2mph for 30 minutes. Increase that to 3mph and they’ll burn 99 calories. Speed it up to a fast walk (4mph) and that’s 150 calories – the equivalent of a jam doughnut. “Walking also increases muscle mass, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism – so the more calories you burn, even at rest,” he adds.
4. It can help prevent dementia
dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six over 80. We know being active has a protective effect on brain function and regular exercise reduces dementia risk by up to 40 per cent. And, according to Age UK, older people who walk six miles or more per week could avoid brain shrinkage and so preserve memory as the years pass.
5. …and osteoporosis, too
“Walking counts as a weight-bearing activity,” says Amory. “It stimulates and strengthens bones, increasing their density – really important, especially for women. It also helps maintain healthy joints so may stave off conditions such as arthritis.”
6. It firms your legs, butt – and tummy
A good walk can help strengthen and shape your legs, giving great definition to calves, quads, hamstrings and lifting your glutes (buttock muscles) – especially if you add hills. But if you really pay attention to your posture as you walk, it can tighten your abs and whittle your waist, too.
Fitness expert Joanna Hall is founder of the Walkactive method of ‘conscious’ walking for better posture and overall fitness results. She says: “Think about lengthening up through your spine to create space between your earlobes and shoulders. Relax your shoulders, pull in your tummy and pelvic floor and imagine you have a cup of water balanced on top of each hip bone that you don’t want to spill. As you walk with this posture, your shoulders will naturally rotate and this works your oblique abdominal muscles – you’ll be taking inches off your waist with every step
7. Let’s not forget your arms
“Your speed when walking comes from your arms,” says Hall. “Hold them at a comfortable level, bent at the elbow, and swing them backwards and forwards as you walk. Swing them faster and you’ll automatically speed up. And all this movement tightens your arms, shoulders and upper back.
8. It boosts your vitamin D levels
If you’re walking outside in daylight, you’ll be boosting your body’s stores of vitamin D – a nutrient that’s hard to get from food, but that we can synthesize from exposure to sunlight. Many people are deficient in vitamin D and it’s a nutrient that plays a big role in everything from bone health to immunity. While sun safety is still important, experts agree that exposing as much skin as you can to the sun, little and often and without burning, will help you to produce sufficient vitamin D.
9. It gives you energy
It might seem like a paradox (and the last thing you might feel like) but a brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to each and every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. It wakes up stiff joints and eases muscle tension so you feel less sluggish. Always have a mid-afternoon energy slump at work? Head out for a walk at lunchtime instead of sitting in a café or at your desk and see what a difference it makes.
10. It makes you happy
The ability of exercise to boost mood is undisputed. Studies have shown regular, moderate-intensity exercise (such as brisk walking) to be as effective as antidepressants in cases of mild to moderate depression. Getting active releases feel-good endorphins into the bloodstream, reducing stress and anxiety. And don’t forget it’s often a social activity – joining a walking group or meeting friends to walk and chat is a great way to banish feelings of isolation and loneliness. A survey by the charity Mind found 83 per cent of people with mental health issues look to exercise to help lift their mood. For greatest benefit, they say, get active outdoors and somewhere green or by the beach. (Hannah Ebelthite)
Master’s In Education” (Disability/Rehab)Newcastle UniversityAustralia
“Grad Cert Education”NewcastleUniversity”Australia
“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”
“Cert 4 Personal Training”
“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”
Member of ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association)
Accredited First Aid Trainer
Carroll, L. (2014, may). sydney moring herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/obesity-rates-soar-in-australia-a-global-survey-reveals-20140528-394s4.html
Hannah Ebelthite. (n.d.). TESCO living. Retrieved from http://www.tescoliving.com/health-and-wellbeing/fitness/2013/october/top-10-health-benefits-of-walking-everyday