Joining a walking group can lower the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and more, a new study finds.
People who regularly walk in groups also have lower levels of depression, lower blood pressure, cholesterol and resting heart rate.
Mrs Sarah Hanson, one of the reports authors, said:
“Our research shows that joining a walking group is one of the best and easiest ways to boost overall health.
The benefits are wide ranging — and they go above and beyond making people more physically active.
What’s more, people find it relatively easy to stick with this type of exercise regime.
The merits of walking — including lowering the recurrence of some cancers — are well known, but these findings show that the dynamics and social cohesion of walking in groups may produce additional advantages.
People who walk in groups also tend to have a more positive attitude toward physical activity, a shared experience of wellness, and say they feel less lonely and isolated.
Taking regular walks can also be a catalyst for adopting other healthy behaviours.
The research evidence suggests people enjoy attending walking groups and appear less likely to drop out than many other forms of activity.”
The study gathered together and analysed the results of 42 other studies.
These included a total of 1,843 people from 14 different countries.
Jackie Hayhoe, a programme manager for Walking for Health, a British organisation, said:
“Walking really works.
Every day we see the positive impact this simple activity has on the thousands of people who regularly take part in Walking for Health group walks.
We’re delighted to see further evidence to support what we see on the ground — that walking with others adds to the many health and well-being benefits regular walkers see.”
The study is published in the British Journal of Sports Nutrition (Hanson & Jones, 2015).
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