May is National Walking Month and the Public Health Agency (PHA) is setting everyone a challenge to put on their walking shoes and see how many steps they can take.
There are many health benefits of walking and adding a brisk pace to your step can help you feel good, reduce anxiety, help manage your weight, reduce blood pressure and help you sleep better.
Colette Brolly, the lead for physical activity at the PHA, said: “We’re using Walking Month to encourage everyone to count their steps and try to increase the number they take.
“Walking is something you can fit in to your everyday routine such as walking to the shops or to work instead of driving.
“It is one of the simplest forms of exercise and you don’t need any specialised equipment to start, just a comfortable pair of shoes.”
“The average number of steps a person takes each day is between 3,000-4,000 steps so we could all do with getting a bit more active.
“Fit walking in to your everyday life, for instance if you have to take the car to work, you could park a bit further away from the building than normal and walk that little extra to the office. Better still use public transport. Research has shown that we are likely to be more active if we use other forms of transport.
“You can also enjoy walking together as a family and walk with the children to school, which will encourage them from an early age to be active.
“Walking groups can also be a good way to get started and it’s also a great way to make friends who can keep you motivated.
“There are many groups coordinated by your local health and social care trust so contact them to find out times and days that the groups meet.”
For further information on the benefits of walking, tips and hints to get started and contact info for your local health trust walking coordinator visit choosetolivebetter.com.
Share pictures of your favourite walks and tell us how you’ve increased your step count on the PHA’s facebook page facebook.com/publichealthagency or on twitter @publichealtni or twitter.com/publichealthni.
The PHA’s ‘Take the Next Step’ leaflet has even more on increasing your step count and can be found at pha.site/step.