Wellness Wednesday: ‘Walking is the Best Medicine’

University of Kent Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager, Brenda Brunsdon

Walking became a big exercise trend during the lockdowns and restricted activity periods of the pandemic. It was easy to get your trainers on and get outside to have a stroll or, even better, a brisk walk. The lovely weather last spring and summer certainly helped with this.

I was one of the people who got into this walking trend. I started as soon as we were sent to work from home and the gyms closed at the same time. I’d been a regular at my local gym for many years. I did mostly resistance work but had started to incorporate some cardio-vascular walking exercise as I felt I was losing this element of my fitness; this was much to the dislike of my personal trainer!

I gradually increased the amount I walked through the spring and summer. Within weeks I was up to 5 miles a day regularly. I went out straight after finishing work. I soon came to love my walks and they were the highlight of my day. I am lucky enough to live on the edge of the countryside so enjoyed walking along country lanes, in nature, with the sound of the birds singing. I know my mood benefitted greatly from this. I did the same route and people along the way got to recognise me. I’ve met many new people in the past year, just by going for a walk.

As autumn turned into winter, I changed my schedule to walking during my lunch hour. The start of 2021 brought a break to my routine. My husband got Covid 19 and, alongside him, I had to endure a period of isolation in the house. This was followed by a spate of snow and ice which disrupted my walking practice. I missed my walks. It is good to be back to a more normal routine now.

All sorts of experts will tell you about the many benefits of walking as an exercise:

  • One step uses a third of your body’s muscles
  • The recommended 10000 steps a day represents about 8k
  • Walking lowers blood pressure
  • It reduces your chance of developing diabetes
  • It lowers the bad cholesterol in the blood
  • Walking increases overall fitness
  • As it’s weight bearing exercise, it strengthens the bones
  • It helps improve mood and lowers stress
  • It helps people lose weight and maintain a healthy weight
  • Walking is a natural healer – research has shown that some disease can be cured simply by walking
  • It improves how the immune system works
  • It helps move toxins in the body into the lymphatic system to be expelled
  • It is estimated that for every minute a person walks, they prolong their life by 1.5-2 minutes

Maybe that’s why the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, said ‘Walking is the best medicine’.


Everything you need to know about walking on www.walkingforhealth.org.uk

‘Walking For Health’ on nhs.uk.

‘The Health Benefits of Walking’ by Karen O’Hara on bupa.co.uk

‘What Are The Benefits Of Walking?’ by Jane Chertoff on healthline.com

‘5 Surprising Benefits of Walking’ on Harvard.health.edu

’12 Benefits of Walking’ on arthritis.org

‘Amazing Health Benefits of Walking’ on by 101MrHealth on YouTube

‘The Many Benefits of Walking’ on Health en Fitness on YouTube

‘Top 5 Health Benefits of Walking’ on WyreTV on YouTube

Seven Amazing Things You Might Not Know About Walking – on www.bbc.co.uk

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