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Health Benefits of Walking Highlighted

19 October 2011

Brisk walking can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and could be the answer to rising obesity rates, explains Professor Marie Murphy in a talk at the University of Ulster this evening.

The Head of School of Sports Studies highlights the many health benefits of simply walking in her inaugural professorial lecture,‘The Walk of Life: The Role of Walking in the Prevention of Chronic Disease and the Promotion of Public Health’ , at the Jordanstown campus.

She said:  “Rapid technological advances during the 20th century have reduced the amount of walking people do as part of their daily lives. Despite this, regular brisk walking has been shown to be effective in improving health and reducing the risk of many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, overweight and obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.

“Walking has fewer of the physical, social and psychological barriers associated with more traditional forms of exercise and may be the most appropriate activity to promote among sedentary individuals or newcomers to exercise. “

Professor Murphy will explore the research evidence underpinning the role of walking in preventing morbidity and mortality at an individual and population level and critically examine the potential of walking to help the population meet current public health recommendations for physical activity.

The lecture will include highlights from observational and intervention studies which have considered how regular brisk walking can stimulate changes in fitness, fatness and biochemical markers of disease risk and describe some of the challenges to promoting walking behaviour for health benefit.