If you've been thinking about increasing your levels of activity or not sure where to start, then consider walking. It's a simple and free way to improve your physical and mental wellbeing and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine; making it ideal to get yourself into a healthy routine for the summer ahead.
Here we've taken a look at the specific benefits that walking for exercise offers, to give you that little motivation.
Walking is a great, low-impact activity that most people can do - and if you have no exercise regime in place at the moment, it's a great way to bring more movement and activity into your day.
The NHS advises that walking can reduce the risk of a number of chronic illnesses, including:
That's because walking gets your heart rate up, which gives your circulatory system a good workout. You'll also notice an improvement in joints and tension, as walking is a weight-bearing activity which means you're using and strengthening your bones as you walk.
You're also using muscles that support that skeletal structure, keeping arthritis and chronic joint pain at bay.
For many, the main highlight of walking is that, for such a simple activity, it's great at burning calories, making it a great starting activity for those trying to lose weight.
The recommended amount is 10,000 steps a day or, according to the NHS, "adults aged 19 to 64 should try to be active daily and should do:
An hour of walking at a brisk pace burns about 300 calories. Although one person's 'brisk' might not be another's. So it's said that a brisk walk is a pace in which you can talk but you wouldn't be able to sing the words to a song...so no singing along to Whitney as you're power-walking around the park.
Walking isn't just good for the body - it's good for the brain, too, on a physical and chemical level.
It's also been proven that regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia by about 30 per cent.
Like any other exercise, walking also makes you feel happier and more positive, thanks to the release of endorphins when your body gets a workout.
By taking some time out of your busy life to walk and notice your surroundings, you can also bring your mental wellbeing back to a calm and centred state - leaving you happier, healthier and ready to face the rest of the year!
The average person only walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps-a-day, so getting up to the recommended 10,000 mark might seem a tall order. However it's probably easier than you think to increase the step count:
>>Find out why it's important to implement a healthy lifestyle at work.
With walking not only being beneficial for your health, now is the perfect time to get on those trainers and start helping the environment (taking the car for short journeys use almost twice the CO2 per mile), your mental wellbeing and your fitness levels. Connect with friends and your surroundings and make walking part of your every day routine.