The problem for many of us today is that we just do not exercise enough. This can have dire consequences as we age.
According to the Lancet medical journal,about two thirds of the adult population in the UK does not take sufficient exercise and are endangering their health.The British Heart Foundation 2015 physical activity survey revealed that only 30% of over 75s meet a reasonable physical level of activity. These are astonishing statistics,and if we don’t use our physical ability to take reasonable levels of exercise we will eventually lose it.
In the UK and the US health authorities tend to agree that we should strive to achieve 10,000 steps each day equivalent to about 5 miles.The average person in the UK reaches around 3000-4000 steps daily according to the NHS( in the US this figure is said to be around 5,200 -5,900)
There is a simple way we can individually deal with this problem of low activity, and that is by walking for health in later life.
Why walking will change your life
It is never too late to try and improve your fitness. Exercise can reduce the risk of certain conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.It can also relieve symptoms of chronic conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and arthritis.
One of the best forms of exercise for health is walking. It’s so easy, and it works. It is not a skill-dependent form of activity.
You will grow to love it. It will form an essential and enjoyable part of your daily routine.
You could make new friends.There are clubs and associations devoted to walking activities.
The most important factor in achieving this change: The Walking Plan
You should have and follow a plan. This does not mean that you will be making a strenuous commitment you are not comfortable with or having to pay out for expensive sports clothes and gym memberships.For the most part following such a plan is free to all. A comfortable pair of walking shoes though must be considered essential. Having a plan gives you something to aim at and a framework in which to achieve that aim.The plan should be simple and achievable.
Creating an easy activity plan
1.Firstly, take a look at your typical day and make a simple list of daily tasks and take the dog out for routines. Look to introduce more walking, for instance:
- take the stairs both up and down
- if you travel by public transport try, if practical, to get off a stop or two before or after your usual one when you are commuting
- walk to the shops rather than take the car
- take the longer way around the office or home to your kitchen,bathroom and so on
Secondly, introduce some extra routines into your day, or regularly:
- take the dog out for a stroll
- spend time with the family in the park
- plan your car journeys so that walking is involved
- do some ‘window ’shopping from time to time
- plan some regular visits to places of interest,like museums and zoos, which require walking
- May is National Walking Month.Join in the fun walks being arranged near you
- there are so many other ways you can work in ways of walking
2.Your goal is to achieve 10,000 steps a day. In order to achieve this your plan needs to be safe and sensible.
3.You will need a pedometer to count your steps accurately. A inexpensive one will be adequate.Wear it for a few days and become use to using it and measuring your usual daily steps to set a comfortably reachable baseline number.From this point you can start to add steps gradually as a part of your walking plan, until you achieve your 10,000 step mark. Now it should not be difficult to keep to at least this level of daily activity.
How to find support to meet your goals
In addition to your own daily planned walking, you may find it helpful to find support from other like minded people who are walking for health. With friends or ‘walking buddies’ you can help each other in your goals. There are social clubs and associations in most areas which you could join which organise events around walking and rambling.
Mistakes you should avoid
Expensive equipment is not necessary.Buy well : a comfortable pair of trainers is essential. Wear comfortable clothing for the season.
Don’t set step targets that are too ambitious and may cause you injury.If you are not sure always
consult your medical practitioner before embarking on a plan of unaccustomed exercise.
What to expect
It will take a little effort to succeed in your plan. Most worthwhile things do.
You may fall back occasionally on your plan, but if you persevere you will begin to feel fitter and better, probably lose weight and sleep more soundly.
There is now vast body of scientific evidence supporting the wisdom of walking for health.Have a plan and stick to it. Simple.
Walk for health in later life. You can take the 10,000 step challenge now.
“Walking takes longer… than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed.” ~ Edward Abbey, “Walking”
A Big PS Have you signed up for the #Try20 challenge in support of National Walking Month(May) by Living Streets,the UK Charity for every day walking?
You still have time to join-in. Go for #Try20
PPS This could help you start a habit for the rest of your life and help you reach your exercise targets for great and better health at #Try20 today