Walking is better than the gym

Recently published research comparing various keep-fit activities is good news for Cicerone. According to research by Dr Grace Lordan of the London School of Economics and Political Science, a brisk 30-minute walk five days a week is more effective than any other form of exercise for keeping weight down.

Go for a walk using one of our many routes and you could benefit even more.

You walk has to be brisk enough to raise your heart rate and get 'out of breath and slightly red in the face'. The effects are particularly noticeable in women of all ages, but particularly for men and women over the age of 50. The science behind this is that human beings have been walking upright for four million years, and as such it's a more natural behaviour that taps into biological mechanisms. Certainly going on a long-distance walk will have incredible benefits for overall well being, but even the half-hour regime will apparently reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes more effectively than running or jogging.

Calorie burning is apparently optimised when walking because it is a constant, uninterrupted activity – except when you stop to admire the view that is!

The research study compared walking with swimming, cycling, working out in the gym, dancing, running, jogging, football, rugby and squash – and even housework. You will be delighted to hear that the housework can take second place to your daily walking.

Walking Image
Walking is better than the gym

Tips for successful walking exercise:

• a good level of exercise is when you can still talk, but cannot sing the words of a song

• you shouldn't exercise for two or three hours after a heavy meal, but can snack on something non-sugary to keep energy up – eg a banana

• start at a gentle pace and speed up once your muscles have warmed through, especially in winter

• drink plenty of water if exercising for more than 30 minutes

• NHS recommends walking, plus two days of strength exercises that work all the major muscles

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