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Simple steps on the road to improving your fitness

Walking is the simplest, and most under-rated, form of exercise. Yet it can bring vital health benefits. And now is a great time to start.

May is National Walking Month – #WalkThisMay – so there’s plenty of good advice to be had from sources such as www.livingstreets.org.uk and www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/walking-for-health

But before you walk the walk let’s talk the talk on the benefits of putting one foot in front of another.

Burns calories

Walking, especially brisk walking – at a pace that gets your heart beating faster, but you can still hold a conversation – is a great health all-rounder.

It burns calories, helping with weight loss which, combined with improving your general fitness, can lower your chances of illnesses such as Type 2 Diabetes.

Lowers blood pressure

Being active can help to lower blood pressure, which lowers your risk of heart problems.

Improves your mood

Walking, as with any physical activity, can help develop resilience, reduce symptoms of depression, improve low moods and boost self-esteem. And how about a walking playlist to keep you moving:

Walk on By: Gabrielle/Dionne Warwick

Walk This Way: Run DMC ft. Aerosmith

Walking on Sunshine: Katrina and the Waves

When I Walk Away: Justin Timberlake

Long Walk Home: Bruce Springsteen

You’ll Never Walk Alone: Gerry and the Pacemakers

Jesus Walks: Kanye West

And of course . . . anything by The Walker Brothers!

Improves sleep

Adding more activity to your daily routine can help improve the quality of your sleep, meaning you feel more rested in the morning. But be careful that you don’t exercise vigorously too close to bedtime, as this might keep you awake.

Improves your FIGURE

Walking helps build strength in many muscles, including your legs and rear.

Saves money

Cut down on petrol costs by walking to the shops. You don’t have to sign up to expensive virtual gym classes either as you can get plenty of exercise for FREE!

Saves the planet

You can do your bit for climate change by choosing to ditch the car or train for walking.

Good for kids too

May 17-21 is Walk to School Week meaning pupils will be well on their way to reaching their recommended 60 minutes minimum physical activity a day before even reaching the school gates! Not only will it set them up for a positive day in the classroom, but it will also help create healthy habits for life. Find out more at www.livingstreets.org.uk/wtsw

It is very important to understand your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Our simple online health check takes just a few minutes. The Healthier You programme is free to join and you can sign up without visiting your GP. The sessions are now available with a British Sign Language Interpreter if BSL is your first or preferred language.

Use our online checker to find out if you’re at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes: https://www.stopdiabetes.co.uk/know-your-risk

It might be the most important thing you do today.

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