Walking cuts heart-risk same as running say docs. Try our beginners guide.


Published: Monday 13th October 2014 by Paul Nickerson - Writer

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A study has revealed more health benefits for walkers. But doctors warn we are walking less than ever before. Use our simple guide to start reaping the benefits of walking for yourself.

The benefits of walking have never been more clear. Research from the US national laboratory reveals that it can have as much impact on major diseases as running.

The study compared the two activities and found the energy we use during moderate walking and running produces similar health benefits for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. We’re not talking about a gentle stroll. The research says it has to be a fast walk.

You just need a pair of shoes and 20 or 30 minutes to head off to wherever you like.

If the idea of fast walking puts you off as much as running, don’t worry, almost anyone can build up a little speed given time. Walking is one of the simplest exercises of all. You just need a pair of shoes and 20 or 30 minutes to head off to wherever you like.

However researchers at Edinburgh University have found that we are walking over 80 miles a year less than we did a decade ago. “People just don’t walk as much as they did,  our life-styles have changed and we rely more on our cars”  said a spokesman. “People are missing out on an easy way to burn calories and reduce the risk of some serious diseases”.

If that isn’t enough to get us walking, UK journal The Lancet has published research showing that walking 20 minutes a day at a moderate pace can help cut the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 10%.  And there’s more. Because walking has less impact on the joints than running, the cost benefit equation is even more favourable for walkers.

“All great thoughts are conceived whilst walking”  Nietzsche

Walking can also be good for the soul. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said that “All great thoughts are conceived whilst walking”. Old Nietzsche might actually have been onto something with this observation. In 2013 The American Journal of Preventative Medicine reviewed 25 separate studies on the relationship between walking and the mind. Almost every study showed a strong link between physical activity and the prevention of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

If you still don’t feel like going out for a saunter try our five point guide below. Follow our quick tips to start enjoying the amazing health benefits of walking and sample the beautiful countryside here in East Yorkshire. You won’t regret it.

Our 5 step beginners guide to walking for health 

1. Start slow

Build it up over time; the most important thing is to start, even if it’s just 10 minutes at first. Try to keep a relaxed posture as you walk with your head up so your back doesn’t arch and begin to ache.

2. Build it into your day

Many of us can’t afford 30 minutes, so build walking into your existing schedule. Get off the bus a stop early;  go for a walk in your lunch break or park further away from work. If you normally pick the kids up in the car, is it possible to walk instead?

Go crazy and get a shopping cart so you can walk to the shops without having to lug your heavy bags home. You can get ones that look quite sharp these days.

3.  It doesn’t cost much

All you need to start is some shoes. Any will do as long as they give you enough support so your feet and knees don’t hurt and you don’t get blisters. If you start walking more you could invest in some reasonably priced walking shoes in the sales. If you like to go off-road and walk in winter some waterproof walking boots with good support and grip are a great idea and don’t cost the earth.

4. Music and podcasts

Alfred Wainwright would turn in his grave at wearing earphones whilst walking and missing out on the silence of the hills. But if you want to listen as you go that’s fine. Music or podcasts can be a nice distraction if you find walking boring or like to multi-task. Just make sure you can hear traffic and other dangers.

5. Build it up

The more you walk the more your muscles become used to it. Gradually increasing your pace each week to cover the same distance more quickly will give you the best health benefits.

Once you can walk further and faster, make an afternoon of it on a local walk in the beautiful landscape of Hull and East Yorkshire. A pack-up makes a nice break at the halfway point. Wear a few thin layers rather than something bulky. As a nod to old Wainwright who said “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes” think about taking a waterproof in your backpack.

Happy walking and here’s to your health.

Useful links

Walking the Ridings – walks in East Yorkshire

Hull City Centre walk

The Bransholme Loop short walk





Published: Monday 13th October 2014 by Paul Nickerson - Writer

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