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  • Writer's pictureIan Blyth

Walking for Wellbeing - Part 2 Physical Health

In the second part of our look at Walking for Wellbeing we focus on perhaps the most obvious, certainly the most noticeable aspect of exercise, the good that it does us physically.

We will begin with a brilliant quote from our friend Dr Ralph Manders, Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at the University of Surrey.

‘The best exercise is the one that you keep doing’

Simple, blindingly obvious but at the same time, insightful. Of course the best exercise is the one you keep doing, you can spend all the money in the world buying equipment and developing strategies but if you don’t do the exercise, it’s all such a waste.

That’s why walking is such a great pastime for people of all ages and abilities, but we’ll let James Avery, Managing Director of Bevan Wilson Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinics explain why.

‘It has been my pleasure to sponsor Walkfest for the last six years, I would not have started, let alone continued to support the festival if I was not 100% convinced of the benefits to physical health that walking provides.

Walking does not require specialist equipment, although we always recommend appropriate footwear for conditions and distance, we also never tire of telling people to tie their laces properly, and you would be surprised how often a poorly fitted shoe or a loose lace leads to trips and falls.

Regular, low impact exercise like walking will help maintain strong bones and lower blood pressure, increase ‘good’ cholesterol and maintain lean muscle tissue, it will also reduce risk of cardiac issues and help with weight management.

As with any exercise though, please do not overdo it, because as physiotherapists we would much rather prevent an injury than treat one’.

So, it’s looking pretty good for walkers then?

Indeed it is, and we will leave the final word to Dr Manders.

‘I am part of a team based at the University of Surrey that is looking at the links between exercise and positive outcomes for cancer patients. We are currently working with the Fountain Centre and the Prostate Project on a project to develop effective exercise for men living with and beyond their cancer diagnosis. Findings from this research will form the basis of future projects in prostate, and other types of cancer.

We already know that walking and planned exercise is beneficial and our research will give a clearer idea of just how effective it is.’

So, the message is clear, and to paraphrase the wonderful Mr Len Goodman…Get Walking!

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