There's a lot to love about walking! In addition to being free and not requiring any special training or equipment - beyond a good pair of walking shoes - research shows that walking regularly can shift kilos, lower your stroke risk by 20 per cent and help protect against the brain shrinkage that’s linked with age-related memory loss. Going for a walk can even be inspirational, with a US study showing that people’s creativity jumps by 60 per cent when they’re pounding the pavement. Gotta love that! Get the most out of walking with this simple, 7-day workout from Diabetic Living exercise physiologist Christine Armarego:
MONDAY: Go for a light, 10-minute walk, somewhere flat and smooth. ‘It really doesn’t matter how short a walk is,’ says Armarego. ‘Do it consistently and frequently, and your fitness and blood glucose levels will start to improve, regardless of how far you walk when you’re starting out.’
TUESDAY: Go for a moderately paced, 10-minute walk, somewhere flat and smooth. Use the right technique. Walk at a steady pace, stand as straight as you can, and step with a rolling action from your heel to your toe.
WEDNESDAY: Rest day.
THURSDAY: Go for two 10-minute walks, maintaining a light pace. Try to walk up one or two hills, if you can. Don’t be tempted to ‘text and walk’. Looking at a mobile phone while you’re walking changes how your body moves, which increases your risk of tripping or colliding with something.
FRIDAY: Rest day.
SATURDAY: Walk around the house for 10 minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon. Walk at a moderate pace. And try wearing a pedometer. Studies show that using one of these devices will help to boost your step count, as you are able to see just how many steps you have taken in a day.
SUNDAY: Go for a 15-minute walk, maintaining a moderate pace. Walk along a beach, if you can, to increase the amount of energy you use and to give your leg muscles more of a workout.
By Karen Fittall and Christine Armarego
New to exercise? Check out our Beginner's Exercise Guide for more info on staying safe and getting the most out of your workout.