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  • Lucy Adie

Mid-Week MOT: Walk this way!

We plod about, heads down, going about our daily business and busy lives, not always aware of our surroundings.

Going out for a walk can be a great way of engaging with our outside space and with each other, not to mention all the health benefits and the fact that its free!!!

Yes.... this weeks focus is putting one foot in front of the other...........

Many people who take up fitness, maybe in middle age or beyond, are convinced that unless they go running and work up a dripping sweat with all the gear and no idea, then their efforts are in vain. As we age, it is important to combat the associated loss in muscle mass and bone density with weight bearing exercise and this includes walking.

Research from Finland recently found that walking for just half an hour a day at a pace where it is difficult to hold a conversation comfortably, can reduce your risk of heart attack by just over half......wow.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California analysed 33,000 runners and the results were amazing - brisk walking had the same effect of lowering the risks of high cholesterol and blood pressure as running had. More importantly, for the same amount of energy expenditure, walkers had more health benefits than runners, including lower BMIs and smaller waists! Walking at moderate pace burns up to 88 calories a mile, strengthens the leg and bum muscles and tightens the core. The impact is enough to build bone density without the forces experienced when running.

As well as the cardiovascular benefits, researchers are finding that a walk after eating helps to control blood sugar levels and thus offer protection from Type 11 Diabetes.

Just by walking 6,000 steps a day (or 3 miles), Boston University published that osteoarthritis of the knee can be helped, building muscle strength and good flexibility around the joint and that managing just half of that amount (due to pain) can still improve the condition. Although 10,000 steps is the daily recommended amount, it is better to just do what you can and build up from there. Time to purchase that step counter then.....? Don't get hung up on numbers, just come back feeling like you've done something!

The positive effects of walking aren't just for the ageing population either. Desk bound workers who swapped one hour a day of sitting for one hour of walking had a 13% drop in mortality from all causes, according to a Liverpool University study.

And even if you are in middle of the city, walking outdoors can improve mood by balancing feel good brain chemicals such as serotonin, and therefore improving mild depression.

By adding in a hill or two, upping the pace some days and making your outing progressively longer or harder, your walk will become an even greater workout, and you do not need to buy expensive clothing or trainers. Just wear good fitting footwear and loose clothing, take a waterproof, take your dog, take the baby in the buggy, take your partner or go it alone for some valuable head space.....but do go.

Thanks for reading.

As always, for osteopathy in High Wycombe and beyond, call Lucy from OsteoFusion on 07833 321604 or visit www.osteofusion.co.uk.

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