The importance of walking for health

Last Sunday I completed the London Marathon dressed from head to toe as Dame Edna Everage. It was a very hot day, the hottest marathon on record so I’m very proud of that achievement, plus we raised £2,200 for charity.   A key part of my training programme was actually walking, and that’s what this blog post is all about; the power of a walk to increase your aerobic and cardiovascular fitness.

As part of my training for the marathon, I did a long run every couple of weeks or so, which is not something I’d recommend for everyone but with the amount of exercise I do it fitted well. Then I would do something of moderate intensity three times a week, and a couple of high intensity workouts during the week. In between that I did what the Americans call ‘greasing the groove’ or ‘active transport’ as I like to call it e.g. walking.  It’s about getting little bits of movement where you can.

I can’t stress enough how important walking is. In fact a study found that just a 10 minute walk a day had the effect of increasing your mood and your energy levels for up to three hours afterwards. So what a return on investment that is! The same study found that if you sustain that for three weeks or more those overall moods and energy benefits extend throughout the whole day. So that’s how powerful walking can be; huge benefits including for mental health.

The recommended 10,000 steps, comes from a very old piece of research but found that this was a good goal for overall fitness, so a good place to start. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a tracker, or if you do a lot of ‘active transport’, but just getting in a high volume of steps and plenty of walking is going to have so many benefits for you.

If you think about where we came from, our ancestors would have been moving around all the time. They’d be getting up, looking out of the mouth of a cave, surveying for risks, surveying for prey. Then foraging, scurrying, squatting, sharpening tools, washing things. They’d have been active all day, moving around the camp and at some point involved in some very high intensity chase, or high intensity activity being chased by something, just to survive.

We’ve lost a lot of that so let’s try and bring some more of that ancestral movement back into our lifestyle. Our bodies like to get plenty of movement in daily life; the body was designed to move.

If you have questions on this, contact me at leanne@bodyshotperformance.com.

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Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit www.bodyshotperformance.com or email info@bodyshotperformance.com to register your interest in our services and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.