Walking: ideal for keeping fitWalking could save your life – and it needn’t be a marathon effort.

New research from Queen’s University, Belfast, revealed that even a half-hour walk three times a week can help you lose weight and lessen the chance of heart disease and stroke.

Walking: ideal for keeping fit 

Previous advice was to undertake a vigorous walk at least five times a week.

Three groups of healthy but inactive volunteers took part in the project. One group took part in no walking exercise at all; one took a 30-minute brisk walk five times a week and a third did the same but on just three days.

Both the walking groups saw health benefits, including drops in blood pressure and hip measurements. The sedentary group had no change. Overall fitness also improved in the walkers.

Experts say the recommendation stays at five weekly exercise sessions, but the message is that a little walking is better than no exercise at all.

160 civil servants, aged between 40 and 61, took part in the 12-week research, the results of which were published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The researchers said: “The results may encourage people who feel they do not have time to exercise on five days each week to consider finding time to commit to a lower weekly target of exercise.”

So what are you waiting for? Get those boots on and get out there.