Saturday, 13 April 2013

Did you know that 42% of breast cancer cases could be avoided by developing healthier lifestyle choices?

We all know that making healthy lifestyle choices such as eating healthily and getting regular exercise have to be a good thing, but sometimes it's hard to find the motivation. Well, this article that popped into my inbox yesterday may help to give you (and above all me !) a much-needed kick up the bum. The school holidays are just about to kick off here so I have a fortnight for me and the kids to get in lots of long walks - fingers crossed the weather is kind to us !

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Power Walking Tips From Walk The Walk

Did you know that 42% of breast cancer cases could be avoided by developing healthier lifestyle choices? Research has shown that making small changes like getting regular exercise, eating healthy food and reducing alcohol consumption all play a part in preventing the development of breast cancer.

Power Walking can burn up to 300 calories an hour, and mile for mile, walking at a minimum pace of 4 miles an hour, uses the same amount of energy as runners. Having been described by experts as the "nearest activity to perfect exercise", those in the know have long used their daily stroll to improve fitness, tone up and lose weight.

By walking at least 45 minutes four times a week at pace, you could lose up to 18lbs in a year without changing your diet. Nina Barough CBE, Founder and Chief Executive of breast cancer charity Walk The Walk, which organises Power Walking challenges including The MoonWalk London, The MoonWalk Edinburgh and international challenges, explains:

"Walking is the simplest, most beneficial way to keep fit and healthy. It can help with reducing stress, tension, tones and strengthens, helps weight loss, increases bone strength and prevents osteoporosis. With research now showing that exercise and lifestyle are both key to breast cancer prevention, walking is an all-round winner.

The amount you walk will have an impact on the end result you are looking for. If you wanted to lose weight for example, I would suggest that you walk for a minimum of 45 minutes, 3-4 times a week, the overall most important thing is that you enjoy it!

Power Walking is one of the few activities that really does work on almost every part of your body from your posture to your muscle tone. It works wonders on defining the shape your legs, lifting your bum and flattening your stomach by strengthening your core muscles, and you can expect to start seeing an improvement to your body profile after just two weeks of walking a minimum of three times a week."

There are longer term benefits associated with taking up the sport too, including reducing the risk of coronary disease, strokes and certain cancers, helping to prevent osteoporosis, and helping to strengthen your immune system if you can find the time to walk for 30 minutes a day.

Nina continues: "At Walk The Walk, not only are we passionate about raising funds for vital breast cancer causes, we are also committed to encouraging men and women to become fitter and healthier by taking part in our challenges, as we believe that taking more responsibility for your own wellbeing is a vital part of prevention."

Here are Nina's top tips to help you make the most of your stride.

Use your arms!

Your arms control your speed. To go faster, hold them at a right angle and move them backwards and forwards from the shoulders, so that your upper body gets a workout too; keep your hands lightly cupped, not clenched, to ease tension. As you step on to your right foot, the left arm should move forward - so that the arms are always swinging in opposition to your feet.

Get the right footwear

The correct trainers are essential; make sure that you've worn them in before participating in any walking challenge. Choose a shoe that is protected, cushioned and roomy enough so that you can wiggle your toes easily.

Keep the challenge up

If you start to get bored, increase your speed or the distance you're walking. Your body can quickly become used to exercise and begin to plateau.

Wear a pedometer

This will help you monitor your progress so that you know whether you're improving or whether you need to step up the effort.

Find a friend

Walk with someone else. You can take it in turns to be the pace setter so that you are always progressing and motivating each other.


Nina's book 'Walking for Fitness' offers a complete how to guide for Power Walking (Published by Dorling Kindersley RRP £10.99)

For more information on Walk The Walk visit www.walkthewalk.org

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