Benefits of simply walking

The benefits of walking should not be underestimated. Even the walking you do as part of your everyday routine can be help improve your health.

As a low impact activity, walking puts minimal stress on joints and so is suitable for people with osteoarthritis. Walking can reduce pain and improve function in osteoarthritis and can help with weight management, an important part of the overall management of osteoarthritis.

Walking is open to all levels of fitness and can be sociable, enjoyable and stimulating. We’re lucky to have a wonderful range of natural environments suitable for walking, parks, beaches and bush land. Joining a walking or bushwalking club can open up many opportunities to meet new people and explore new places.

For the health benefits of walking, it’s recommended that we walk as briskly as we can for at least 30 minutes, on most days of the week. ‘Brisk’ does not mean walking at an exhausting pace – but one where we can still have a conversation.

Looking for a little extra motivation for walking? A pedometer can help. This measures the number of steps you take, providing immediate feedback about your activity level and encouraging you to keep moving. A recent study has found that walking can have similar effects to running in improving cardiovascular health.

Here are some tips on healthy walking:

  • Choose shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel and thick, flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock
  • Warm up. Walk slowly at first
  • Cool down by walking slowly at the end
  • After the walk, gently stretch your leg muscles
  • Choose walks that suit your ability and fitness level.

A brisk walk in the morning is a great way to lift your mood and boost your fitness.