9 Mar 2005

Wales’ Sports Minister Alun Pugh said,

"Walking is the easiest activity to slot into busy daily lives and you don’t need fancy, expensive equipment. Try to build it into your normal routine – walk to work or take the children to school by foot. It’s also a great opportunity to get out and about and enjoy Wales’ beautiful landscape."

"Taking a regular walk is one of the ways in which you can respond to the Health Challenge Wales, a challenge to all of us to do more to look after our health."

The health benefits of walking are renowned. Medical research indicates that regular exercise can cut the risk of coronary heart disease, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, help weight loss, increase bone density and help fight osteoporosis as well as reducing stress and improving general wellbeing.

Always consult medical advice, but together with improving diet and stubbing out a smoking habit, gentle walking is also an essential part of a rehabilitation programme for people who have suffered a heart attack.

Dr Mark Ridgewell explains:

"As with everything, start gently. Try and build up to five stints of thirty minutes a week or do more if you can. If that sounds too much, break it up into smaller walks throughout the week. Try recording your progress with a pedometer and increase the length of your walks by ten per cent every week. You’ll soon see your stamina and general fitness improve."