Walk your way to health


Ditch the car and walk, in order to help you feel your best.

‘There’s little doubt walking can get you fit if you take the right approach to it,’ says Lucy Knight, a personal trainer and the author of Walkig for Weight Loss (Kyle Cathie, £12.99). ‘Do it regularly and the benefits to body and mind are immense.’

Walking has been shown to prevent everything from gallstones to sleep problems and can even help cut cravings for cigarettes in people trying to give up smoking. Women who walk for two or more hours a week are at lower risk of having a stroke, and walking for 45 minutes several times a week helped previously sedentary women avoid the weight gain that typically occurs around the menopause, reported researchers at Quebec’s Laval University. Austrian researchers found downhill walking helped  lower blood glucose levels, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, while uphill trekking lowered triglycerides, important components of cholesterol.

Indeed, so potent are the disease-fighting benefits of daily walking that JoAnn Manson, professor in the department of Epidemiology and Health at Harvard University, describes it as being as close
to a magic bullet as you’ll find in modern medicine. ‘If there was a pill that could lower the risk of chronic disease like walking does, people would be clamouring for it,’ she says.