Walk­ing for health

LifeStyle Wimmera - - INSIDE -

Many health pro­fes­sion­als con­sider the sim­ple act of go­ing for a walk as a way for the av­er­age per­son to in­crease their over­all health and well­be­ing.

The Wim­mera, south­ern Mallee and Grampians have walk­ing tracks and trails aplenty, be they for ar­du­ous treks through na­tional and state parks and other wilder­ness ar­eas or for ca­sual strolls along mu­nic­i­pal path­ways.

Re­search sug­gests 30 min­utes of walk­ing ev­ery day, and in some cases even less, can in­crease car­dio­vas­cu­lar pul­monary fit­ness, re­duce fat, boost mus­cles and en­durance, strengthen bones and help with men­tal­health ill­nesses.

Walk­ing is a low-im­pact weight-bear­ing ex­er­cise that can re­duce the risks of heart-dis­ease and stroke, help with the man­age­ment of high blood pres­sure and high choles­terol lev­els and di­a­betes.

It can also help with sim­ple things such as bal­ance and move­ment.

Vic­to­ria’s Bet­ter­health Chan­nel en­cour­ages peo­ple to walk briskly for 30 min­utes a day to get the best from the ex­pe­ri­ence.

It de­scribes ‘brisk’ as be­ing able to talk while walk­ing but not be­ing able to sing and per­haps puff­ing slightly.

If it is too hard to walk for 30 min­utes at one time, the rec­om­men­da­tion is to do reg­u­lar 10-minute bouts three times a day and grad­u­ally build up to longer ses­sions.

Walk­ing with friends or groups can turn a walk into as much a so­cial oc­ca­sion as a work­out.

Fol­low­ing are sug­ges­tions to help get the most from a walk and build it into a rou­tine:

Take the stairs in­stead of a lift; walk to work or shops; walk the dog; make sure you have com­fort­able and ap­pro­pri­ate footwear and cloth­ing; en­cour­age peo­ple to walk with you; find a pas­time or ca­sual em­ploy­ment that in­volves walk­ing such as house-to-house news­pa­per and pam­phlet de­liv­er­ies.

Con­sult your doc­tor for ad­vice be­fore em­bark­ing on any pro­gram if you are aged 40 or older, are over­weight or haven’t ex­er­cised for a long time.

Many coun­cil of­fices and in­for­ma­tion cen­tres have de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about walk­ing trails, tracks and op­por­tu­ni­ties across the re­gion.

Pic­ture per­fect Macken­zie

Falls in the Grampians. Pic­ture: ROBERTO SEBA

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