National Walking Month - May 2022

National Walking Month

May is National walking month. With brighter weather and lighter nights people are encouraged to get active and walk more throughout their daily lives.

A free and natural form of exercise, walking has been found to have a whole host of health benefits…

It strengthens the heart and can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease and strokes.

It can help you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight – it’s a great form of exercise especially for beginners and can help you to lose weight gradually, reducing your risk of diabetes and obesity related illness.

It boosts blood flow to the brain and can improve your memory and concentration - walking has been linked with a lower risk of dementia.

It improves your energy levels – walking boosts circulation and oxygen supply around the body to help you feel more alert and awake.

It can boost your mood and help to manage depression and your stress and anxiety levels - this can even help your sleep quality.

It is a fully body workout – walking activates so many muscles in the body including your calves, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and abdominals. As a weight-bearing exercise it can help to keep your bones healthy.

It can boost your vitamin D levels – Vitamin D is important for bone health as well as your immune system. Since the vast majority of our Vitamin D is synthesised in our skin from exposure to sunlight, walking regularly in the outdoors can help us to achieve our daily recommended levels.

It is easier than you think to incorporate more walking into your daily life…

You could:

Walk the kids to school

Get off public transport one stop early and walk the remaining stretch

Park further away from required shops and buildings so you have a greater distance to walk

Take a short walk on your lunch break, or before/after work

Go for an after dinner stroll with the family

Walk rather than driving for short journeys and running small errands

Meet friends for a walk rather than just catching up over coffee

Take the stairs rather than the lift

Walking is great for fitness, and the key is to try and be more mindful as you walk to help you get the most out of your efforts, achieving the best level of comfort, power and speed. There are both physical and mental benefits when you adopt good posture and walking technique. These include:

Increased energy – walking with poor posture and technique is inefficient and leads your muscles to tire more quickly. Using the correct arm and foot motion you can propel yourself forward with power and without wasted effort.

Better lung health – walking with correct posture by standing tall and with your shoulders back will allow your lungs to expand fully, helping you to breathe deeper, more easily and efficiently.

Improve circulation – aligning your body and moving correctly will allow the blood to flow more easily to all parts.

Reduce the risk of injuries or aches and pains as you avoid unnecessary strain and pressure on muscles, ligaments and joints.

Improved digestion – good posture and technique will allow a healthy blood flow to the digestive tract and better enable you to digest your food by ensuring internal organs are not compressed.

Better core strength – walking tall will properly engage your abdominal muscles.

Improved balance and stability – good posture and technique keeps your bones and joints aligned properly, and can reduce your risk of falling.

So here are our tips for great fitness walking and technique:

Wear comfortable fitting shoes with appropriate arch and heel support, and a good level of cushioning to soften the shock as your feet hit the ground.

Check your posture - to reduce the risk of back pain, neck and shoulder strain you should avoid slouching or hunching. Keep your shoulders back and down, and keep them loose and relaxed rather than tensed up.

Tighten and engage your core by pulling your belly button in towards your spine. Try not to bend forwards or arch your back.

Try to elongate your spine and walk tall with your head held high, keeping your chin parallel to the ground and your eyes and gaze forward, focusing 10 – 20 feet ahead. Avoid looking continuously at the ground.

Keep a neutral pelvis and your hips as level as possible whilst you walk.Try not to over-stride as this can put added pressure on the lower leg joints when you push off with your rear leg.

You should try to include your arms as well – purposeful arm motion can burn up to 10% more calories. Keep them close to your sides whilst swinging them back and forth from the shoulder rather than the elbow. Keep a 90⁰ bend in your elbow, and avoid swinging the arms across your body or up too high.

Maintain a steady gait. Strike the ground with your heel first and then roll through your foot to your toe and push out of your step. Avoid landing flat footed or striking the ground with your toes first.

Adopting the best techniques outlined above should help to reduce the risk of injuries and decrease the level of wear and tear on our joints. But it is still important to consider your diet alongside this, to ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, allowing you to stay fit and active. Unfortunately conditions such as arthritis are all too common, particularly as we age, and can lead to pain, stiffness and inflammation affecting the joints. We have a wide selection of high quality natural supplements specifically for joint care to help protect, support and maintain them.

Collagen in particular is important, as it is the body’s most abundant natural protein structure. It is necessary for the structure of tendons, ligaments, joint cartilage and bones. It also activates the synthesis of hyaluronic acid – an important gel like fluid that cushions and lubricates the joints.

Our Naticol®Marine collagen powder series provides essential amino acids for the repair and recovery of muscle, for joint protection and for rebuilding tissues (ligaments, tendons and bones).

We are also excited to have sourced a vegan collagen as a new addition to our range. Look out for our Vollagen capsules coming very soon!

So are you ready to #WalkThisMay as we celebrate #NationalWalkingMonth ? Check out the hashtags on social media to see how you can get involved.

For further health blogs and product information visit Hellenia’s health hub here.