Monday, 7 June 2010

Walk your way to a healthy lifestyle

walkers_on_beach.jpgIf you're looking to improve your health, meet new people and enjoy the best scenery our district has to offer, then you might want to join the area's new Health Walk Group.

Lancaster City Council’s Active Health Team is starting a walking club for people who want to improve their health by joining in with some gentle exercise.

Every Wednesday the group will meet at the Battery on Morecambe promenade and spend around half an hour walking. The group is open to all and is free to join and all you need to bring are comfortable shoes and clothing.

Walking is good for your heart and lungs and improves cardiovascular fitness (and in Lancaster, sometimes it's a much quicker way to get to work than getting into your car...)

Most of the 'work' of walking is done by the muscles of the lower body, and it’s a weight-bearing activity, so it can help improve bone density. At the same time it's low impact so it won’t strain your joints.

Walking will also increase your muscle tone, boost metabolism, ease stress, raise energy levels and improve sleep, which combined can also help you lose weight. Regular walking can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, osteoporosis and arthritis -- and can help you to deal with anxiety and stress, and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Lancaster City Council’s Active Health team operates a referral scheme for NHS patients who have any risk factors for coronary heart disease. Residents who meet the scheme's criteria are referred to the team by their GP or practice nurse, and a 12-week individually-tailored programme of physical activities is then developed.

• For more information on the Health Walk Group or to speak to the Active Health Team, please contact 01524 582607 or visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/activehealthteam

• There are plenty of other walking activities in the area, too. The Ramblers Association has regular walking events - see our events guide for details - and local newspaper the Lancaster Guardian has a regular walk feature, written by Graham Dugdale

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