The Health Benefits of Walking

Most of us probably don't walk enough every day, but did you know that adding a few more steps to your daily routine can have major physical and mental health benefits?

03/07/2019

Most of us probably don't walk enough every day, but did you know that adding a few more steps to your daily routine can have major physical and mental health benefits?

Do you walk enough? Many of us don’t do as many steps as we should in a day and inactivity is an increasing problem. As May is National Walking Month, we’re looking at the many physical and mental health benefits of getting outside and going for a walk.


Walking for health

Evidence reviews from Public Health England, show that building more walking into your daily routine can significantly improve your health. Even just 10 minutes a day could make a big difference to your overall wellbeing including:

  1. Blood pressure – high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and strokes, but a brisk daily walk can help lower your blood pressure and reduce the risks associated with hypertension.
  2. Weight loss – being overweight or obese can increase your chances of diabetes, cancer and heart disease among other serious health conditions. Walking can help you keep your weight down and regulate your blood sugar too. It’s also a great way to kick-start a fitness regime, as you can start at an intensity that’s right for you.
  3. Bone and muscle strength – low-impact and weight-bearing, walking is a good exercise for keeping your bones and joints healthy, which is particularly important in older age when osteoporosis and reduced bone density can be an issue. It also helps keeps your muscles flexible and strong which can help your balance and posture and reduce the risk of falls.
  4. Digestion – your digestive system needs some stimulation to keep things moving and walking can help, particularly if you’re feeling bloated or constipated.
  5. Reducing depression and stress – exercise has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health, whatever the intensity. Walking in nature has been shown to be especially beneficial, so if there’s a park nearby, that’s a great spot to lift your mood and ease your anxiety with a brisk stroll.
  6. Circulation – a quick walk is enough to get your heart pumping, boosting your circulation and making sure oxygen is circulating effectively. You’ll probably notice you’re more alert after some exercise, as your brain function is improved by the supply of oxygen.
  7. Breathing – the effort of walking gives your lungs a good workout and can help improve your lung capacity, which can be particularly helpful for people with asthma. Just stay within comfortable, safe limits.
  8. Vitamin D intake – it’s known as the sunshine vitamin because, although it’s in some foods, we need to expose our skin to sunlight to produce it. Vitamin D is very important for musculoskeletal heath, particularly in older people. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 people in the UK are low in vitamin D but getting out for a walk in the fresh air, even on a dreary British day, can help keep your levels topped up.

 

Walking for life

Fortunately, you don’t have to go marching for miles into the distance for walking to benefit your health! Just 10 minutes a day can make a difference. And even if you don’t take the time out to specifically ‘go for a walk’, it can be built into your day quite easily – taking the stairs instead of the lift or parking on the far side of the car park, for example. Every step you add to your daily tally will have an impact.  If you want a helping hand to get started, try the NHS Active10 App.
 

Helping people in Clapham & Streatham live well at home

Of course, as home care providers, we understand that for some people going for a walk isn’t all that easy, especially if you’re older or living with a health condition. But even if you have mobility problems, or perhaps don’t feel confident going out on your own, there are solutions. Having the support of a friend, loved-one or trained Care Assistant will give you the opportunity to get out and enjoy a walk on a regular basis. Whether you need help to find and use the right mobility aids, a supportive arm to lean on or just some reassuring company, asking for assistance could transform your wellbeing.

So why not find out whether your friends and relatives can help you go walking? If that’s not possible, just ask us about our private home care services. We’re here to support people across Clapham and Streatham to live at home, have fun and enjoy life to the full. So, give our friendly Bluebird Care team a call on 0208 677 6665 to find out how we can help you live better at home!