Did you get your steps in today?
With Spring (hopefully) round the corner we can start thinking about enjoying the outdoors again.
We’ve all heard of the 10’000 steps a day challenge, even our phones and watches send us regular reminders to “get up and move!”. But why? Why is walking so important to our everyday health?
Simply put, walking is good for us, it promotes bone and muscle strength, reduces the risk of health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes and improves both balance and coordination. Walking can also have a positive effect on our mental health, reducing anxiety and stress levels helping to improve our mood.
Most fitness trackers set a goal of achieving 10’000 steps per day, why? Well its origin is disputed, but most sources attribute it to a successful marketing campaign from the 1960’s for a Japanese fitness device called Manpo-Kei which quite literally meant “10,000 step meter”. In recent years research has disputed whether reaching 10’000 steps really does have a significant impact on cardiovascular health compared to any other number of steps and the general consensus is that actually any increase in physical activity is going to have a positive impact on your physical and mental health!
The Immediate Benefits
You can start to feel the benefits of exercise almost immediately following physical activity. Benefits include improved cognition, reduction in anxiety and with regular physical activity improved sleep quality. Regular physical activity such as at least 150 minutes of walking per week can help to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and also reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Longer Term Benefits
Our friends at Physio Ecosse In Edinburgh did a social media piece on the benefits of walking, and they quoted research from Voiner and White (2022). They found that active adults who engage in walking have fewer cartilage and bone issues in their knees. Longer term knee protection is dependent on sustained engagement in moderate intensity physical activty which includes walking.
Quality of Life
Everyday activities such as getting in and out of the car, climbing the stairs, walking to the shops and carrying shopping, even playing with your children and grandchildren are all activities which contribute to your quality of life. Middle aged and older adults who engage in regular physical activity have an increased quality of life when compared to those who are inactive. For older adults, keeping yourself moving by walking will help to improve your physical function and decrease risk of injury
Ok……. so we now know we should and that we will benefit, but how do we fit walking/exercise into our already busy lifestyles. The answer is make it easy…..Perhaps park the car further from work and add a 15 minute walk onto either end of your day. Or perhaps go for a walk or a run whilst your kids are at a certain activity each week. Making it the same time each week means we are more likely to be successful. Lastly, do not run before you can walk (pardon the pun!!). Start off small and build. Change some habits 🙂
The key is to keep moving, and small changes in habits can make a big difference to our overall health.
So….whatever the weather throws at us remember there is no such thing as bad weather..just the wrong clothes. So wrap up and get walking!!
If you have pain or injury that is stopping you then seek advice and treatment. You can book a Physiotherapy appointment directly at SPEAR, without seeing a GP first by calling 01224 900102 or book online at https://spear.connect.tm3app.com