Walking and Health

Walking helps protect the body from many illnesses and conditions and health experts agree that 30 minutes of brisk walking on most days of the week is sufficient to improve fitness.

This may seem a lot at first but walking can be incorporated into your everyday life more easily than any other activity. 

For many of us, a good degree of determination will be necessary to get into the new habit - but don't lose heart, there is support at hand!

Get started by using our downloadable 12 week walk plan to help you establish your routine.

This plan will suit those who are happy to walk independently in their own time, either on their own or with family or friends. 

Two walkers

If however you'd prefer to walk with a group there are plenty of schemes to help you get started.

Even if you're out of puff to begin with, you will be surprised and encouraged by how quickly you gain strength and stamina if you walk every day.

Regular brisk walking will

  • Improve performance of the heart, lungs and circulation.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and strokes – inactive and unfit people have double the risk of dying from CHD.

Walking regularly at any speed will

  • Help manage weight.
  • Reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes - active people have between a third and a half less chance of developing this than inactive people – and help control it once established.
  • Reduce the risk of certain cancers: active people have 40-50% lower risk of developing colon cancer than inactive people, and lower risks of developing breast and lung cancer.
  • Improve flexibility and strength of joints, muscles and bones, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Increase “good”cholesterol.
  • Boost the immune system.

Walking more helps reduce the time you spend being inactive – for example sitting down and watching TV. Doctors now agree that too much time spent sitting is bad for your health, even if you’re otherwise relatively active.

Walking can also help improve mood, reduce anxiety, aid sleep and improve self-image.

Overall, regular walkers are likely to live longer and enjoy a better quality of life.


The aim of the plan is to get you walking briskly for at least half an hour on at least five days of the week.