It is an alarming thought but facts and particularly figures – both numerically and physically – suggest that people are failing to adopt the most basic of all exercises.

The most fundamental form of all human locomotion – walking – appears to falling of the list of required activities for many people. The fact is that stumbling home from the pub over a weekend is walking as much as some people will manage in an entire day, week or even month!

Walking is falling off the map

According to a Department of Transport study in the UK one in seven adults will go an entire month without – at any stage – taking a 10 minute stroll. This figure gets even worse and rises to one in four for the over 65’s. And even when we look at the most active and dynamic age group – the 16 to 24 year olds – the signs are not good.

Remarkably 1 in 14 goes 31 days without so much as a reasonable walk.

This is worrying. Other than for those with disability or injury, walking is the baseline form of exercise. Not only that, it is the fundamental way by which we attach ourselves to the ground and move about.

It might not be lung bursting, heart pumping, sweat inducing stuff, and that is why walking is perhaps not given due credit as a legitimate form of exercise. But it should be seen as the very base camp of all exercise. Something important in its own right and that can be built on.

Why should we walk for fitness?

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has commented, “Being active reduces the risk of many diseases such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. By doing 10 minute periods of moderate activity (such as walking at a decent pace) you can work towards doing 150 minutes a week”.

US National Weight Control Registry data shows that people who actively incorporate walking into their regime stay slimmer. And that is no surprise when you consider the direct benefits.

Health benefits of walking

– Calorie burning
– Metabolism boosting
– Body fat reduction
– Leg strengthening
– Improves your circulation
– Lowers your blood pressure
– Helps prevent & control diabetes
– Great for positive mental health and higher levels of self-esteem
– Aids in managing stress and tension release
– Helps encourage good sleep
– You can do it pretty much anywhere
– No impact on the environment
– Cost effective. In fact it’s free!

Walking the Walk - Walk for Fitness_2

* Author Guy Holland and WatchFit Expert and former Gladiator ‘Jet’ Diane Youdale walking on Yorkshire Moors.

A walking enthusiast

My good friend and WatchFit Contributing Expert Diane Youdale is better know to millions as ‘Jet’ from the massive TV success story that was Gladiators. So Diane is best know for all action Gladiatorial combat games, she was an elite national gymnast and trained at a couple of London’s most prestigious dance studios, and is a great fitness professional. And now I’ll share a secret with you… Her favourite pastime – hiking!

Diane loves nothing more than a good excuse to get walking. She commented “Stretch the legs, swing the arms and breath the air. It’s the most wonderful way of moving the body at a pace that is productive but allows you to take in your environment freshen your mind and think with genuine clarity.

We need to walk!

“The idea that not enough people are walking is astonishing.I notice there are even products around now that are like hover boards, that no doubt take some skill to use, but they just seem to be taking the walking out of walking!”

Walking around a suburb of London recently I was astonished to see the sheer number of people whose physical condition is actually make walking – this most elemental act of transport known to man – an arduous and troublesome pursuit.

It is no secret that the first step towards better health and fitness is to get moving. And that first step can always be a first stride in a good walk!  

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