Improving fitness can be a stroll in the park
As part of a series of articles on The Herald’s loveLIFE health and fitness campaign, Health Reporter Sophie Taylor looks at the most simple form of exercise – walking.
SIMPLE, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier, walking is often underrated as a form of exercise.
But it is ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels who want to be more active.
Brian Steele, chairman of the local walking organisation Plym Ramblers, said: "We try to encourage people to come out and join us for health reasons as well as for recreational purposes. We also run mini walks which are just two miles long for those who may not be so agile who can then build up their fitness levels.
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"Walking is the one thing that people of all ages can do without enduring high costs and it's an all round good exercise.
"Plymouth is an excellent place to walk. We've got the moors, coast and countryside as well as lovely areas within the city too."
And Active For Life, a service at the Plymouth Guild, run free weekly walks around the waterfront, in partnership with the National Marine Aquarium, as part of a national scheme.
Sharon Hobbs, the Active for Life walk leader, leads two walks every week.
Sharon said: "We start each Friday with a fast paced one hour walk around the Hoe and Barbican, which includes inclines and steps to help get your heart rate up. We estimate that we cover at least two miles on this walk every week."
In the afternoon, Sharon leads a gentler paced walk along a flat route for 30 minutes.
She continued: "This walk is great for beginners who are looking to start increasing their physical activity. Many of our walkers started out attending this walk and now their fitness has increased, they can attend both walks each week."
Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers.
Larissa Milden, Active for Life manager, said: "Regular walking is a great way to benefit your health, reducing the risk of developing major health conditions and helping people to achieve their recommended 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week."
The group meets outside the National Marine Aquarium at 11.15am for the morning walk and 1.15pm for the afternoon walk. The walks are free and anyone interested can to turn up on the day to try out the walks.
The loveLIFE campaign aims to make Plymouth an even fitter, healthier and happier place.
Over the next 12 months we want to encourage even more people to take the plunge this year and start making positive changes to their lives.
The four main challenges we have set are to kick the habit, get active, feel better and lose weight.
And we want to hear what you are doing to improve your health and wellbeing.
Sign up to the loveLIFE campaign now at www.heraldlovelife.co.uk; email email@example.com; or call 01752 765529.