Friday 27 March 2015

Walk This Way

A large new study has highlighted the fantastic health benefits of doing something very simple. Maybe it's just too easy as many of us seem to neglect it! The secret - take a brisk walk. Just a simple 20 minute walk every day can reduce the risk of early death by nearly one third. Interestingly, the study also reported that physical inactivity could be responsible for nearly twice as many deaths as having a high Body Mass Index (BMI) or being overweight.

So is it hard to walk for 20 minutes a day? The answer is that it shouldn't be. It has been estimated that the annual distance the average person in the UK walks, fell by 20% between 1976 (408 miles per year) and 2009 (314 miles). Modern life seems to have made us so busy doing sedentary things that we forget to move. 

Walking has many health benefits, from increasing bone density (meaning we are less like to get osteoporosis) to reducing the risk of getting a cold. It can also make us feel invigorated and alive and help us lose weight. A brisk walk each day is also great for our joints and muscles. Many back pain sufferers find a daily walk enormously beneficial for their backs. Some of my chiropractic patients deliberately get off the bus or train a stop or two early so that they get a good walk before arriving at work, and will do the same again on their way home. Others have opted to always use the stairs rather than get in the lift. Carys (my wife) swears by her treadmill desk which allows her to walk and work at the same time. A pedometer is a great way of keeping track of our daily steps. Some smart phones even have a built in pedometer. About 10,000 steps a day is considered to be what we should be aiming to achieve. There are many ways to be successful at walking more; it simply takes a little thought and planning. The greatest thing about walking as a form of exercise is that it is free. It can even reduce your transportation costs and your carbon footprint. Walking can be incorporated into many daily activities and now that spring has arrived it is likely to make us feel fantastic. 

I've sat at my computer long enough now, I'm off for a walk! It will be good for my back and so much more.