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In the weekly Get Active column, Fenland District Council physical activity co-ordinator Hettie West discusses the importance of walking...

As we hit the peak of summer, it’s the perfect time to make the most of the light evenings and make being more physically active a habit before the nights draw in.

Walking, despite being one of the most accessible, adaptable, and enjoyable forms of exercise, is still seriously underrated.

You can see some lovely views on country walks
You can see some lovely views on country walks

Only 48% of men, and just 20% of women across the UK currently hit the recommended daily guidelines of physical activity set by the Chief Medical Officer (150 minutes moderate-intensity activity per week), leaving over three million adults failing to hit these targets to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

However, adding just one 10-minute brisk walk into your daily routine is all it takes to decrease your risk of early death by 15%, making up nearly half of your weekly guidelines with that short burst of activity (Public Health).

Here’s how. A 30-minute daily walk:

  • Decreases risk of stroke by 27% and of other heart problems (NHS);
  • Burns calories which leads to weight loss;
  • Releases endorphins improving mood and energy levels, whilst reducing stress levels and risk/symptoms of depression;
  • Increases muscle strength and bone density;
  • Largely increases vitamin D intake if walking outside;
  • Improves sleep ability and quality;
  • Improves confidence and self-esteem;
  • Can lead to improved social skills due to meeting new people/ current friends.

With all of this in mind, a reminder of the Ramblers’ brand-new nationwide scheme is due. We have

recently launched the scheme locally in Fenland and are always looking for new volunteers to allow us to have as many walks as possible on the go – hopefully one that suits everyone. You don’t need to be able to walk far, or fast, you just need to be friendly, able to communicate, and be motivated to get others walking too.

Keep an eye on our social media pages (@ActiveFenland) for all information on local walks, how to get involved in walking and how to begin leading your own walks in Fenland. Visit the Ramblers’ Wellbeing Walks website and search for your town to see if there’s a walk suited for you.

Contact activefenlandbookings@fenland.gov.uk if you’re someone who enjoys meeting new people, loves walking or wants to get out walking more often, and is keen to get more people walking too- we’ll be happy to talk anything through with you.

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