Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Step Up to the Challenge; Walking Is an Underrated Activity, Says MICHELLE CHILDS, One We Should All Be Doing More Of

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Step Up to the Challenge; Walking Is an Underrated Activity, Says MICHELLE CHILDS, One We Should All Be Doing More Of

Article excerpt

Byline: Michelle Childs

FOR most of us, walking is as simple as putting on our shoes and stepping out the door. For many it's the action we use to get around the house, get into the car or just to go outside.

But how many of us clock ourselves walking or think about how many steps we and our family should be doing? As May is National Walking month, let's focus on this everyday activity that is so integral to our health and wellbeing.

WHY WALK? WALKING, in my opinion, is an underrated activity. It's free, easily accessible and you don't need any specialist equipment.

Regular walking has been shown to have a beneficial effect on our health and fitness levels.

Moderate levels of walking have even been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, asthma, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? THE average person walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps a day. But to be healthy and have a positive effect on our health and fitness, we should really be aiming for 10,000 steps a day.

Children are expected to take more, not fewer, steps than their parents. Kids aged between six and 12 should aim for 12,000 steps for girls and 15,000 steps for boys.

This sounds a lot, but it doesn't need to be done all at once! You can break up your steps throughout the day.

ATo measure how many steps you're taking you could simply download a free pedometer app to your phone. Or, you can buy a pedometer or a fitness tracker, can a of you which will keep track of all activity you do - whether you have your phone or not.

GETTING STARTED IF YOU haven't walked much before, or aren't very fit, don't try to undertake all your steps at once. The safest, most sustainable way of increasing any form of regular exercise, is to start small and raise the distance as your fitness and ability levels increase.

It's a good idea to have a comfy, supportive pair of shoes (like trainers or walking boots), clean socks and comfortable clothing.

A lightweight, waterproof jacket can make walking in the UK much more enjoyable - however, an umbrella will do for shorter walks.

For longer walks remember to take some water with you.

Start your walk off slowly and gradually increase the speed until you're walking at as brisk a speed as you (and those walking with you) can manage.

For walking to have the most health benefits you should aim for a moderate level of intensity.

Don't worry if you can't walk at a brisk pace to begin with, you can work up to it over time.

FITTING IT IN IT MIGHT seem like 10,000 or more steps is an awful lot, and such a high number can put many people off. However, fitting in extra steps can be relatively easy - here are my top tips for upping the step count: | Ditch the wheels: Most of us commute to work or school in the car, or on public transport. …

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