A special post on major current research into the benefits of walking. Source todays Times.

Post 20: Recent research by the London School of Economics and Political Science has indicated that a brisk 30 minute walk five days a week is more effective than any other form of exercise (e.g. swimming, running, going to the gym) for keeping weight down. This applies particularly to women of all ages. Over 50 year olds experience even stronger benefits than younger counterparts. It is more natural behaviour that taps into biological mechanisms to reduce obesity.

Walking reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes more effectively than running. Calorie burning is optimised when walking because it is constant, uninterrupted activity – unlike tennis or squash. It is necessary to walk so you are out of breathe and slightly red in the face. One of advantages may simply be that people are more likely to stick with walking. Having been walking seriously for 25 years I would have to concur with this research. I soon  get bored at the gym or swimming but walking in the outdoors is never boring as per my diaries indicate! In a 12 mile walk we do 25,000 steps. It is recommended that in order to lose weight 16,000-18,000 (over 7 miles) steps should be done but if otherwise sedentary 24,000 steps (that is 10 miles). For most of the early part of the 25 years I walked everyday and it kept the weight off. In later years I have mixed walking with swimming and gym and I am not as slim as I was say in 1990! The photos will show that as the diaries proceed.

My Mary Berry home-made fruit cake- guaranteed to keep you going on a walk.
My Mary Berry home-made fruit cake- guaranteed to keep you going on a walk.

So the proof is in pudding as they say – or the cake or the ice-cream!

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