Health leaders are urging people to celebrate National Walking Month during May by putting their best foot forward.
GPs stressed this week that brisk walking was great for the heart and that physical activity was crucial to a healthy lifestyle.
Dr Richard Bull, Deputy chairman of NHS North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Walking can bring real health benefits but it isn’t simply a case of putting one foot in front of the other.
“Those who can walk should do it briskly so they feel out of breath. It is one of the simplest, cheapest and most rewarding forms of exercise, and it can have such huge benefits for the heart.
“It can also reduce blood pressure, tone muscles, strengthen your bones and help control your weight. You could also really reduce your risk of developing heart disease, the UK’s biggest killer, which accounts for around 82,000 deaths each year.”
His words were echoed by Dr Steve Lloyd, chairman of NHS Hardwick CCG, who said: “Older people who are vulnerable to a fall in the home often fall because they aren’t active for most of the time. Equally, working age people spend a lot of time sitting down in the office. In all honesty, most of us are guilty of being more sedentary than we should.
“Two and a half hours of moderate intensity activity a week, such as a brisk walk, will not only have health benefits, it will also reduce stress and increase your general wellbeing.”
People can find a walk near them by entering their postcode on the Walk4Life web site at www.walk4life.info/find-a-walk.
People who are new to walking or have a long-term health condition can visit www.walkingforhealth.org.uk for details of a series of walks led by a trained guide and first aider. GPs and other healthcare professionals can refer suitable patients to the Walking for Health scheme.