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- The benefits of regular physical activity include reducing the risk of:
- Type 2 diabetes by up to 50%.
- Early death by 30%.
- Falls among older adults by up to 30%.
- Depression by up to 30%.
- Dementia by up to 30%.
- Coronary heart disease and stroke by up to 35%.
- Walking can help to manage existing long-term health conditions.
- No special equipment is needed.
- It’s safe even for people who are currently inactive and/or have a long-term health condition.
- It’s an easy activity to start doing, build up gradually and continue long-term.
- It can be done almost anywhere and at any time.
- It’s a great way of exploring new places and enjoying the outdoors.
Why walk in a group?
Local research at the University of East Anglia (UEA) found that walking in a group:
- Is a safe way of getting some physical activity.
- Is better than walking alone or using a pedometer.
- Can help people walk further and faster than walking alone (which helps you get fitter).
- Gives social support.
How much physical activity should we be doing?
Adults should try to be active daily and should do:
- At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week.
- Or a combination of both moderate and vigorous activity.
- Strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles.
Any activity is better than none. And more is better still!
It’s also recommended to spend less time being sedentary (sitting).
Correct intensity for health benefits
- For walking to benefit your health, it should be carried out at a moderate or vigorous intensity.
- Moderate intensity physical activities will cause people to get warmer and breathe harder and their hearts to beat faster, but they should still be able to carry on a conversation.
- Vigorous intensity physical activities will cause people to get warmer and breathe much harder and their hearts to beat rapidly, making it more difficult to carry on a conversation.
The intensity recommended should be relative to the person’s current level of fitness. A slow walk to the shops may be a moderate intensity for one person, but low intensity for another.