Here’s how long you need to walk for to impact your health

With self isolation and social distancing in full swing, one of the only ways to get some fresh air right now is to take a walk. As it stands, if you are not showing symptoms and have not been knowingly exposed to coronavirus (in which case you need to stay inside completely), you are still able to go outside and take a walk, as long as you practise social distancing and stay away from others.

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Taking a walk can really break up your day, allow you to get back in touch with nature and offer a little bit of exercise in these trying times. But just how much walking do you actually need to do in order to gain health benefits?

A 2018 study, which was presented at the American College of Cardiology conference in Chicago, revealed it may be less than you think. The study found that just 1,000 steps a day, or a brisk 10 minute walk, can really benefit you by reducing health risks such as heart attacks and strokes.

The study was based on a long-term project which saw 638 participants from a Massachusetts town being monitored for an impressive seven decades.

walking the dog
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Although taking longer walks or doing more intense exercise is recommended, taking a ten minute walk per day is far better than nothing, and is also recommended by Public Health England. In 2017, they launched their app called ‘Active 10,’ which is designed to encourage everyone to walk for at least 10 minutes per day at a minimum.

10 minutes brisk walking a day increases the heart rate, and can be a ‘step in the right direction’ (no pun intended) in terms of getting fitter and engaging in more physical activity on the whole. The app is therefore designed to be a good start for those looking to slowly engage in more physical activity.

However long you take, get outside for a walk if you still can right now.