Walking is easy to do and offers wonderful health benefits for young and old.
One of the biggest steps forward for health is also one of the simplest ones — daily walking. It is an inexpensive form of exercise, as all you need is a pair of walking shoes.
Walking a targeted distance in addition to your day to day activities is a good starting point for sedentary individuals to gradually increase physical activity. Not only is it a low-impact exercise suitable for all age groups and fitness levels, it is also convenient and accessible to everyone. You can easily weave walking as a form of active commuting, into your daily life.
With growing accessibility to devices with step tracking functions (e.g., mobile phones, smart watches, and pedometers), counting steps has become one of the easiest ways to track an individual’s daily activity levels. According to the
Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines (SPAG), it is recommended that an individual participates in aerobic activities (e.g., walking) at moderate intensity for at least 150 to 300 minutes a week in order to achieve positive health benefits such as reduced risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease and Type-2 diabetes, and improvement in mental health.
While at least 150-300 minutes of exercise has been suggested as a weekly goal to achieve health benefits, any amount of physical activity is better than none. Therefore, individuals who may have been inactive for a while may start walking at light intensity and progress by either increasing intensity levels from light to moderate or extending walking duration to meet recommendations for their respective age segment.
Sedentary behaviour has adverse impact on your health as it increase your risk of all sorts of health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. For instance, sitting for over eight hours a day can lead to a 90% increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Hence it is important to break up prolonged sitting with movement breaks.
Burn Calories With Every Step
You can use a smartphone activity app or a wearable fitness tracker to keep track of your daily activity levels.
Aerobic exercise otherwise termed as 'cardio' is sustained physical activity that increases the heart rate and the body's use of oxygen. Engaging in aerobic exercises improves the ability of the heart, lungs and vascular system to deliver oxygen to working muscles. Aerobic exercises ranging from low to high intensity are: brisk walking, leisure cycling, swimming, jogging and playing basketball.
Make walking a daily habit. Try breaking it up into several short walks a day. For instance, you can take the stairs instead of the lift, or give your legs a stretch with a jaunt to your favourite lunch spot instead of driving or taking public transport, and enjoy an evening stroll in the park with your family after dinner.
To make it easy to start walking and to keep at it, try the following tips:
Remember that your fitness and health journey begins with taking the first step. What are you waiting for?
Why not sign up for the
National Steps Challenge™ to get your feet moving and your adrenaline going? More information is available at
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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