Take the hard road to good health: Hiking trails lined with obstacles will make a constitutional walk even more beneficial, study shows
- Doctors say that a simple walk does not cause a significant increase in heart rate
- Adding obstacles can turn a walk into a good workout and improve bone density
- 80% of the survey participants said they would choose the challenge over the easy route
Building sidewalks with obstacles — such as balance beams and stepping stones — may help improve overall health, a study suggests.
Doctors say that a simple walk does not cause a significant increase in heart rate, nor does walking improve balance or bone density. But adding obstacles can turn a walk into a good workout.
The survey of 600 UK residents asked how likely people are to choose a more challenging route than a conventional route – almost 80 per cent said they would. The findings, published in the journal Landscape Research, show that active landscape routes in urban areas can help tackle an “inactivity pandemic.”
Doctors say that a simple walk does not cause a significant increase in heart rate, nor does walking improve balance or bone density. However, adding obstacles can turn a walk into a good workout. [File image]
Lead author Dr Anna Boldina, from Cambridge University’s Department of Architecture, said: ‘Even if the increase in activity levels is modest, those differences could have a major positive impact on public health.
Building sidewalks with obstacles such as stepping stones may help improve overall health, a study suggests. Pictured: People using stepping stones in Box Hill, Surrey in March 2021
Pedestrians can be encouraged to engage in a wider range of physical activities through small changes in the urban landscape.’
The NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity during a week.
In addition, adults over the age of 65 are advised to do strength, flexibility and balance exercises to stay fit.
Dr. Boldina said: ‘The human body is a very complex machine that needs a lot of things to keep working effectively.
“To improve cardiovascular health, bone density and balance all at once, we need to add a wider range of exercise to our routine daily walks.”