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Walking 'has wide range of health benefits'

Posted 18 March 2011
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Walking 'has wide range of health benefits'
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There are many health benefits arising from walking, a general practitioner has said.

Natural England's strategic health advisor Dr William Bird advised Britons to go walking around two miles per day to stay fit and healthy.

He said: "Regular walking protects against heart disease and bowel cancer and halves the risk of breast cancer in older women. It also reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes, stroke and depression."

The expert also noted it can stave off osteoporosis, bring down blood pressure and boost the immune system, while the psychological effects include lower stress levels and a reduced risk of depression.

Knowing about such benefits may prompt people to go out and buy a pair of walking shoes.

One initiative aimed at getting people on their feet is a partnership between the Ramblers and the Department of Health as part of the latter's Public Health Responsibility Deal.

The walking charity is seeking to encourage more people to get on their feet, with schemes including the Get Walking Keep Walking programme aimed at getting urban dwellers to join walks in the parks of big cities.