• Ashburton FP

Benefits of Walking! 🚶‍♀️👟



As a follow up from our previous post regarding the benefits of exercise, today, we want to share with you how simply getting MORE STEPS into your day can improve your health 🌱💪🏽

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There have been multiple studies over the years which show walking can promotes all aspects of health, both physical and emotional, as well as even promoting longevity.

The Blue Zones study has certainly found a correlation between the amount people walk daily, and the number of centenarians (people reaching 100 years in age) in certain populations (5) 📈

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With COVID restrictions in place, it can be hard to access all the previous forms of exercise you were used to (e.g. swimming, weight-lifting, group classes, team sports), but all is not lost, because walking is something you can do anytime, anywhere and with NO equipment needed! 🙏🏽🌲

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The benefits of walking for an average of 30minutes per day (or more if you can) include (1,2):

  • Reduce your risk of developing heart disease & stroke by 35%

  • Reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 40%

  • Manage weight, blood pressure & cholesterol

  • Maintain bone density, reducing your risk of osteoporosis or fractures in the future

  • Improve your balance & coordination

  • Clear your mind & reduce stress

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Benefits of Walking vs Running 🏃🏽‍♀️

Walking might have a bad rep of being an “easy” exercise, but that’s only when you think about it in the sense of going for a “slow stroll” down to the shops or something of the kind.

I’m sure you’ve had one instance where you’ve been late for something, and had to walk at a brisk pace, or had to walk up a few flights of stairs - after these moments, do you recall feeling out of breath? 😅😩

That is the beauty of walking - it can be tailored to suit ANY exercise level!

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If you are NEW to working out, start SLOW & build up. If you already have a HIGH cardiovascular fitness level, challenge yourself by power-walking, walking up hills or walking up stairs.

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Either way, when compared to running, walking may be preferred because it imparts much lower impact on the body. On average, a runner has to endure 100 tonnes of impact force on their body over 1 mile.

In comparison, when walking, at least 1 foot is always on the ground, hence, less gravitational force.

Overall this explains why walking leads to a much lower risk of exercise-related injury compared to running (2).

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Move - Monitor - Modify 📲⌚️

There is a common saying that “you can’t change what you can’t measure…”.

Do you know your average daily step count?

From our clinical experience, most people who commute via car and do a “desk job” will have on average 2,000 - 4,000 steps a day 🚗

If you own an iPhone it has ALREADY been monitoring how many steps you take without you knowing!!

This can be accessed through the Health App on your homescreen (a heart shaped button). 📲♥️

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Android users will have an app called Google-Fit which is the android-equivalent. 🤖

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We have always encouraged patients to MONITOR and find out what their average daily step counts are as a motivator.

The rule for walking, generally speaking, is “10 minutes walking on the flat equates to roughly 1,000 steps for adults”. So if you begin to MONITOR what your daily averages are just by using your phone, you can then easily aim for increasing your walking in 10 minute increments until you are hitting higher targets ✔️✔️

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What if I don’t have time to walk? ⏱

We totally understand.

Lives can get busy, and it might be hard to dedicate a whole 30minutes to walking.

In this situation, try to incorporate walking into times of your daily routine where it is convenient! 📅📝

For example, you could park a little further from work, then walk the rest of the way.

If you take public transport, try to walk to the train station/tram stop/bus stop 🚃 Alternatively, if you have some time during lunch, take a walk to a nearby cafe instead of purchasing lunch from the cafe.

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Most importantly however, make sure you are wearing a mask if during your walk, you will be unable to maintain social distancing practices😷🎭

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This is not only to keep yourself safe, but also a REQUIREMENT under the new social distancing laws in Melbourne (since 29th July 2020). 👮‍♀️

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1. https://walking.heartfoundation.org.au/benefits-of-walking

2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/walking-your-steps-to-health

3. https://www.google.com/fit/

4. https://www.apple.com/au/ios/health/

5. https://www.bluezones.com/2018/01/what-exercise-best-happy-healthy-life/

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