Nestle is organizing a "World Walking Day" to promote the benefits of walking on November 21st, Sunday. The walk is open to all ages and will happen in multiple locations simultaneously. The event is happening from 6.30am to 11am.

Physical activity does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods in order to improve your health. A 2007 study of inactive women found that even a low level of exercise – around 75 mins per week – improved participants’ fitness levels significantly, when compared to a non-exercising group.

Walking is a suitable physical activity for most people. Regular walking can help you lose body fat, maintain a healthy weight, improve your fitness and reduce your risk of developing conditions such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers.

The World Walk Day event will take place simultaneously at the locations below:

•    Kuala Lumpur: Taman Tasik Titiwangsa
•    Penang: Polo Ground, Jln Sepoy Line
•    Kuantan: Padang MPK 1
•    Johor: Taman Sri Stulang, Johor Bahru.
•    Sabah: Penampang Sports Complex Stadium
•    Sarawak: Waterfront, Kuching

Registration starts at 6.30am. See you there!

Here's some advice on walking and the benefits you can derive out of it.

Benefits of walking

You carry your own body weight when you walk. This is sometimes called ‘weight bearing’ exercise. Some of the benefits include:

-    Increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness
-    Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
-    Improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes
-    Stronger bones and improved balance
-    Increased muscle strength and endurance
-    Reduced body fat.

Walk for 30 minutes a day

Try to walk for at least 30 minutes as briskly as you can most days of the week. Moderate activities such as walking pose little health risk but, if you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program of physical activity.

Build physical activity into your life

If it’s too difficult to walk for 30 minutes at one time, do regular small bouts of (10 minutes) three times per day and gradually build up to longer sessions. If your goal is to lose weight, you will need to do physical activity for longer than 30 minutes each day.

Physical activity built into a daily lifestyle plan is also one of the most effective ways to assist with weight loss and keep weight off once it’s lost. Some suggestions to build walking into your daily routine include:

-    Take the stairs instead of the lift (for at least part of the way).
-    Get off public transport one stop earlier and walk to work or home.
-    Do housework like mopping the floor.
-    Walk (don’t drive) to the local shops.

Wear a pedometer

A pedometer measures the number of steps you take. You can use it to measure your movement throughout a day and compare it to other days or to recommended amounts. This may motivate you to move more. The recommended number of steps accumulated per day to achieve health benefits is 10,000 steps or more.
Walking fast burns more kilojoules per hour than walking slowly, but this doesn’t mean you have to push yourself until you’re breathless. Instead, pace yourself so that you can still talk. This simple rule of thumb enables you to walk safely within your target heart rate, which brings about health gains.

The body tends to get used to physical activity, so continue to increase your intensity as you are able and thus improve your fitness levels. You can increase the intensity of your walks by:

-    Walking up hills
-    Walking with hand weights
-    Increasing your walking speed gradually by including some quick walking
-    Increasing the distance you walk quickly before returning to a moderate walking pace

Warming up and cooling down

The best way to warm up is to walk slowly. Start off each walk at a leisurely pace to give your muscles time to warm up, and then pick up the speed. Afterwards, gently stretch your leg muscles – particularly your calves and front and back thighs. Stretches should be held for about 20 seconds. If you feel any pain, ease off the stretch. Don’t bounce or jolt, or you could overstretch muscle tissue and cause microscopic tears, which lead to muscle stiffness and tenderness.

Footwear is important

Walking is a low cost and effective form of exercise. However, the wrong type of shoe or walking action can cause foot or shin pain, blisters and injuries to soft tissue. Don't wear high heels and slippers or shoes that are not your size.

Make walking a pleasure

Some suggestions to help make regular walking a pleasurable form of physical activity include:

-    Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
-    Protect yourself from the sun with clothes, sunglasses, a hat and sun block.
-    Drink plenty of fluids before and after your walk. If you are taking a long walk, take water with you.

Registration for World Walk Day starts at 6.30am. November 21st. See you there!