The great outdoors didn’t look so great in January. The icky weather made swapping the wild blue yonder with trying to beat the daily lockdown blues a sad reality for many and you’re not alone if your daily walk became a casualty of the mid-winter slump.
But the arrival of nifty little February wants to knock this indoorsy trend off its perch because The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has declared it National Heart Month.
It happens every February actually and with cardiovascular disease (CVD) both the UK’s and the world’s number one killer what better excuse do you need to get outdoors. By walking the walk and talking the talk to spread awareness, you could do wonders for your heart health and gently inspire others to do the same.
Just 20 minutes a day is all it takes
Lengthening days and light at the end of the COVID tunnel also make a wee stretch of the legs more appealing plus it breaks up the monotony of the day even if it’s just for a few minutes.
You’ll be pleased to hear that the health benefits of walking a humble 20 minutes a day are many. Whether it’s a walk through the trees, round a field or up the high street, it doesn’t matter where you go! Two long-term Harvard studies found that it might reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 30 per cent.
A study in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology found that brisk walking promotes similar benefits as running for reducing three key heart disease causers that we all hate to see written down so apologies in advance but here goes: blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes.
And a healthy body means a healthy mind with numerous studies demonstrating the link between taking regular exercise and the slowing down of the natural shrinking of the part of the brain responsible for memory, the hippocampus, which happens to us all with age.
New Heart Disease Strategy for Scotland
The Scottish Government has committed to spending £117 million on a new cancer strategy and £42 million on a strategy targeting Type 2 diabetes, which is wonderful, but just £1 million has been invested in the heart disease strategy since its launch six years ago. The British Heart Foundation is now calling for a new heart disease strategy for Scotland with sufficient investment behind it.
A staggering 460 people in the UK die from cardiovascular disease every day and the BHF also says that there are 7.4 million people in the UK living with it.
All the more reason to get outdoors, get and about but don’t take advice from those Weather Girls and their raining men and leave those umbrellas at home because even though ours is set to improve this is still Scotland, people.