Walking is the easiest and most economical form of exercise to improve or maintain your physical and mental health. Walking for 30 minutes a day can increase your cardiorespiratory health, improve bone mineral density, alleviate symptoms of depression and fatigue, reduce the risk of some cancers, and the likelihood of developing type two diabetes.
Unlike other forms of physical activity, walking is free and doesn’t require any special training or equipment! It can be performed at any time of the day and can be self-paced. Physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous or be performed for long durations to see improvements in your health. A 2007 study showed performing a low level of exercise for 75 minutes a week significantly improved their fitness levels when compared to the group of participants who performed nothing. Additionally, walking isn’t just for improving your cardiovascular health but is an effective strategy for managing chronic lower back pain.
All adults should aim to accumulate 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week or 30 minutes on five days. If you don’t have time or can’t walk for 30 minutes, try breaking your walking into three different sessions of 10-minute walks. If you are someone who already does this, increasing the pace of your walk is an effective strategy to see further improvements in your health.
Remember something is better than nothing (and more is even better). If you are unsure or currently not physically active, starting with 10 minutes and then gradually increasing it to the recommended amount is an easy strategy. If you have been diagnosed with heart disease or have a chronic health condition, it is important to speak to your GP or exercise physiologist to learn how to safely build up your physical activity.