Weekly column by fitness experts Adam Wright and Jacqui Watson for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
BEING fit and healthy has never been more important as it is right now with the ever-present scare of Covid-19 threatening all our health, and now the season of colds and flus being upon us. I spoke recently about the importance of gut health for all the family, and stocking up on those multivitamins but this week I want to talk about how by just getting outside you can really build and strengthen your immune system and give yourself a fighting chance at beating off those colds and flu bugs this autumn and into the winter, and all at zero cost for you and all the family. Health is wealth!
‘It’s true – exercise boosts your mood!’
To be fit and at your healthiest doesn’t always mean pounding the treadmill for hours or throwing dumbbells and weights around the gym, it just means the most active you. Getting outdoors and walking is very often underrated. It is so good for your joints and your heart and the fresh air on these lovely bright spring evenings is so good for your lungs and your mind. It is also a great way to get stuck back into a regular fitness plan after maybe a long time out, post pregnancy or just to chat with the girls instead of sitting in drinking too much coffee, or wine.
So, let’s walk ourselves fit and boost our immunity, whether it is to get yourself fitter, get the kids out of the house, to get fresh air and clear the head, or just meet pals and enjoy the change in season and this is why:
Immunity Boosting: Walking for as little as 20 minutes a day can really assist in boosting your immunity as exercise can change the antibodies and white blood cells in the body, which all help to fight disease.
Walking strengthens your heart: Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by walking regularly. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of bad cholesterol while increasing levels of good cholesterol. Studies have shown a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes.
Walking lowers disease risks: A regular walking habit slashes the risk of type 2 diabetes by around 60 percent, and you are less likely to develop cancer of the colon, breast or womb with an active hobby such as walking.
Walking will assist weight loss: You’ll burn around 75 calories simply by walking at 2mph for 30 minutes. Up your speed to 3mph and it’s 99 calories, while 4mph is 150 calories (equivalent to three Jaffa cakes and a jam doughnut!). Work that short walk into your daily routine and you’ll shed the pounds in no time.
Walking prevents dementia: Older people who walk six miles or more per week are more likely to avoid brain shrinkage and preserve memory as the years pass.
Walking tones the legs and the bum: Give definition to calves, quads and hamstrings while lifting your glutes (bum muscles) with a good, regular walk. Add hill walking into the mix and it’s even more effective. Pay attention to your posture and you’ll also tone your abs and waist.
Boosts Vitamin D: We all need to get outside more. Many people are vitamin D deficient as in our lovely wet climate we don’t get out as much as we need to, affecting important things like bone health and our immune systems. Walking is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors while getting your vitamin D fix.
Walking will increase your energy levels: You’ll get more done with more energy, and a brisk walk is one of the best natural energisers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive, and better able to fight off infections. Try walking on your lunch break to achieve more in the afternoon.
It’s true – exercise boosts your mood. Studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression, releasing feel-good endorphins while reducing stress and anxiety. So, for positive mental health, walking’s an absolute must. Be sure to start small, the Eco-Park here at Kingfisher Health and Fitness is an ideal 2km lap to get you started, the surface is good and the route is very scenic, why not throw the runners on, text the girls, and get out for a walk today.