Recent news reports have drawn attention to the possibility that many people are not getting enough exercise in their daily lives. Walking briskly has been found to increase overall health quite considerably when done regularly, but a surprisingly high number of people get as little as 10 minutes of brisk walking into a whole month. The focus has been on people aged 40-60, with research suggesting that this age group are guilty of letting their activity levels fall.
The Health Benefits of Brisk Walking
The statistics recently published have suggested that as little as 10 minutes of brisk walking per day can reduce the risk of early death by as much as 15%. The benefits of walking go beyond the physical, with proven results in improving mental health too.
Walking really is one of the easiest activities to take up. It is completely free and can be done almost anywhere, at any time. Light exercise like walking briskly can increase stamina, burn calories and improve heart health. Walking outdoors can help increase your levels of vitamin D and, like all forms of exercise, can help improve your mood, sleep more soundly, and reduce fatigue and anxiety.
What Counts As “Brisk”?
They key to using brisk walking to increase your overall fitness is to make sure you are walking quickly enough to raise your heart rate. Walking briskly is anything from 3 miles per hour, to around 20 minutes per mile. This is not necessarily correct for everyone, and the ‘briskness’ of your walk actually depends on your own levels of exertion. Walking briskly should be only moderately challenging, increasing your heart rate perceptibly but not to the point of being unable to talk while you walk.
Moderate levels of exercise are generally placed at 50-70% of your maximum heart rate, which varies according to age and also your individual fitness levels. A simple way of determining the average maximum heart rate for your age is 220 minus your age. You can then estimate your moderate heart rate based on 50-70% of this number. For example, if you are 50 years old, your estimated maximum heart rate will be around 170bpm, with moderate levels of exercise increases your heart rate to around 85-119bpm.
Recommended Activity Levels
The recommended amount of activity you should be getting depends on your age group, but aiming for 10 minutes of brisk walking per day or 10,000 steps is a good goal. In truth, almost everyone should aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, with your 10-minute brisk walk counting towards this total amount. A moderate activity could include cycling, dancing, tennis, water aerobics, or even just mowing the lawn.
Walking Briskly in Richmond
A fun way to increase your activity levels could be by joining a local walking group. There are a number of these in the Richmond area, all of which are always open to new members of all ages and fitness levels.
- Richmond Ramblers – Open to everyone, the Richmond Ramblers organise three walks per week of varying distances ranging from 4-12 miles. Information on each walk can be found on their website, and you are welcome to try your first few walks free before deciding whether you would like to become a member.
- Richmond Health Walks – These are regular volunteer-led walks open to everyone. All walks are free, and there is no need to register or book to join in on the day. Walks take place every weekday, minus bank holidays, and are located at different points in the Richmond-Upon-Thames area. All scheduled walks are recorded on their website.
- Walking in Surrey – This website provides links to walking groups across Surrey.
If you would prefer to get out and about on your own, Richmond-Upon-Thames is home to numerous pleasant walks including 260 public rights-of-way. Information on some of the most popular routes can be found at visitrichmond.co.uk.