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Tackling the obesity epidemic one step at a time

News  •  May 18, 2012 16:27 BST

The health benefits of walking have been overlooked for many years, only now are industry and health experts seeing the potential of using walking as a way to improve weight loss, gain fitness and promote a healthy lifestyle. Introducing small walks into your daily routine, combined with small improvements in your diet are seen as ways to help reduce the obesity epidemic that threatens the county.

Over 25% of the UK population are now classed as obese with a BMI (body mass index) of over 30 (Statistics on obesity, physical activity and diet: England, 2012), and with no sign of this growing trend being reversed, walking is one of the easiest ways of tackling the problem.

Walking is something that can be done by almost everyone and in the main doesn’t require any expensive equipment. As long as you have a pair of comfortable shoes, sensible clothing, a bottle of water you’re ready to go.

10 Benefits to walking

1.    Walking improves fitness - Walking is one of the best ways to start improving your fitness, walking for just 30 minutes 3 times a week can help increase your fitness levels.
2.    Weight loss - Walking at 3 - 4 miles an hour the average person will burn around 125 calories per mile; by walking 3 times a week for just 30 minutes you'll burn around 700 - 750 calories, that's the equivalent of four packets for crisps or 3 chocolate bars.
3.    Helps to prevent type 2diabetes - Increasing the amount of walking you do to around half an hour 5 times a week (although being generally more active can help) has shown to improve insulin sensitivity and prevent diabetes.
4.    Reduces Stress - Exercise in general has shown to help reduce stress and walking is no exception. It helps to not only take your mind off stressful life situations but also reduce the effect of stress on the heart.
5.    Improved Sleep - Walking can not only improve your sleep but also help you fall asleep more easily, however walking just before you head off to bed is not advisable.
6.    Boosts energy levels - Walking has been shown to improve your energy levels.
7.    Improved immune system - Regular walking can help to improve your immune system which, in turn helps to fend off common colds keeping you healthier.
8.    Boosts confidence - With your new found fitness and energy you can feel more confident about your body.
9.    Can be done almost anywhere - Walking can be done almost anywhere; you should change your route regularly to keep it interesting and take the time to look around as you walk. This will also help to make the time pass by quicker.
10.    Walking can help you live longer - With the large number of health benefits walking can help you live a longer life. Walking just 2 miles a day can reduce the risk of disease by up to 50%.

It’s now recommended that adults should participate in at least 150 minutes of medium to high intensity exercise each week. For this reason we hold walking at the centre of our Wild About Fitness boot camps as one of the prime ways to both lose weight and to get fit. We believe that fitness is for everyone and focus on exercise that can be done once you return home from your course.

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