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Step Challenge: walking for health

11 May 2020

Park summer

There’s no rules to how you hit that step target – you can walk, jog, dance or jump on an elliptical machine. We encourage you to do whatever best fits your routine, lifestyle and abilities.

  • There’s a huge abundance of health benefits to reap from an exercise routine, even from something as simple as a good walk. Going for daily walks can improve your cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness, increase muscle strength and endurance and improve sleep — the list goes on!
  • Are you wondering if running might be even better for you than walking? In this study, researchers found that the energy used for moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease over the study’s six-year period.
  • But you won’t just be reaping the physical benefits — walking is also proven to lower stress, reduce feelings of isolation and help ease anxiety and depression.
  • In isolation, it is completely normal to feel more tired and easily fatigued than usual, without our normal routines to keep us moving. Even just a short walk at lunch time can be hugely beneficial in giving our days a rhythm and helping us feel more energetic and alert.
  • Research shows that as little as five minutes of outdoor exercise can improve self-esteem. Any outdoor location will do, but being near greenery or water enhances this effect. Interestingly, low-to-moderate-intensity physical activity (like brisk walking) shows greater improvements in self-esteem than high-intensity outdoor exercise.
  • If you’re indoors and on a machine, freshen up your routine by listening to some new music or podcasts that you’ve been meaning to get round to! Multiple studies have demonstrated that the use of music during low-to-moderate intensity exercise was associated with clear improvements in endurance.
  • If you haven’t already, why not rope some friends and family members together into doing the challenge with you? It’s a great way to stay connected with people, share a joint goal and keep yourselves motivated together.

Ultimately, we hope that this step challenge not only gives you a goal to work towards, but helps you feel like part of a community in these difficult times.