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  • Writer's pictureAlex van Terheyden

Clear your mind with a walk that rewards your wallet & your health

You can walk anyway you like

During these strange times that we are living, I'm finding just to keep things fresh in my mind day to day that I must go for a long walk. And with every walk I take each day, I try to make sure it's a different route. And as I'm currently living in London during the authoritarian global lockdown I'm mixing up my route every time I take myself off for a walk.

I always try to walk 10,000+ steps a day at a bare minimum since my various smartphones started measuring (tracking) my movement over the years. I think they are pretty accurate and while I shudder at who is using this information I do get something out of it - I feel I am at least getting something out of it and I'll tell you why. I have health insurance that rewards me for walking so many steps a day. Having Health Insurance is something I recommend for all people who can afford it; as you never know when you will need that emergency treatment that could end up saving your life.

My health insurance is with a company called Vitality. I pay them via direct debit a small sum every month and in theory, they promise they will get me medical help should I ever need it. Now in the old days, a healthy person would simply pay his premiums and this would be it. However, with Vitality, they reward me as long as I stay active. This allows me to discover new streets and new walks wherever in the world I might be.

Ministry of Silly Walks

Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment or training.

Physical activity does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods in order to improve your health. Walking is low impact, requires minimal equipment, can be done at any time of day and can be performed at your own pace. You can get out and walk without worrying about the risks associated with some more vigorous forms of exercise. Walking is also a great form of physical activity for people who are overweight, elderly, or who haven’t exercised in a long time.

Walking for fun and fitness isn’t limited to strolling by yourself around local neighbourhood streets - although I have to admit this is something I've done mostly during Lockdown. There are various clubs, venues and strategies you can use to make walking an enjoyable and social part of your lifestyle.

By walking more than 7000 steps a day Vitality rewards me with points. I always try to aim for over 12,500 and I usually smash that most days. Although the odd rainy day or lazy day can scupper that but we are all human. The points I get from Vitality health insurance reward me each week with Rakuten Movie Vouchers, Cineworld & VUE Cinema Vouchers, Amazon Prime Membership, discounted Gym Membership and free Coffees from Caffe Nero.

Why would I have private health insurance in a country that has a National Health Service - well if you have ever had to use the NHS and I have in my life history. As hard-working as the Doctors and Nurses are, the NHS is not going to get you seen fast enough should you have a serious problem. Imagine the worst-case scenario that something bad suddenly happens to you and you need an operation. Well, sadly with the NHS you are going to have to wait your turn. My family who worships the cult of the NHS as they have all worked for the NHS will claim it to be a wonderful service but the reality is I'm convinced various members of my family have died because the NHS didn't do enough for them. If they had been private they may have lived a little longer and certainly would have been more comfortable. In my mind, by having private health insurance you are going to be seen in speed and this speed could be the difference between life and death.

I rarely recommend companies but in the case of Vitality Health insurance, I am very happy to stick my neck out and make a personal recommendation. I had a health scare a while back and Vitality got me seen by the right people in no time at all. It turned out there was nothing to worry about but if I had waited to find out that information with the NHS I would have been waiting for months to be seen and yet with Vitality I was seen within a day and I was given the OK within weeks. That peace of mind and knowing you are in good hands is worth the premium alone but the rewards I get from staying active make the financial burden pain free. If you would like to join Vitality Health Insurance use this link and you will be rewarded with either a £50 John Lewis or Amazon voucher depending on your preference. Use this code 226D6 when signing up to Vitality.

An example of how I earn my Vitality Reward points - I take a daily walk. A recent daily walk found me walking between Hammersmith Bridge & Putney Bridge along the south side of the Thames - join me for that one on one interaction where I talk about anything and everything.

So what are the Health Benefits fo walking?

You carry your own body weight when you walk. This is known as 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.

So better health and free things if you have Vitality health insurance it's a win-win if you take a long walk every day. And of course during this time where the world around you is a Petri Dish I recommend you combine these long walks with a well-balanced diet but also vitamins. Some will say if your diet is balanced then you will get all the vitamins you need. However, as your body filters out anything you do not need I'm of the philosophy that it's better to have an oversupply of vitamins going into your body than a lack of supply. Obviously depending on your needs will depend on what vitamins you need.

To keep my energy levels up I take B12 Supplements & Multi-Vitamins. And I try my best to get a enough sunshine so my body can produce vitamin D as this is linked to keeping a stronger immune system. Crucial when your body is fighting off Covid-19 which I'm convinced I did a couple of months back now.

If you would like to check out other walks in my YouTube series I'll post some of the videos down below. In this one, I take in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and walk from the Centre to the Podil District.

And Part 2 of that walk follows as it's best to break up long video walks sometimes!

And a slightly different video next where I walk in the footsteps of the Techno Viking in the centre of Berlin - reliving one of the greatest Memes that ever graced the internet. And previously discussed on this blog.

So, keep walking and keep progressing!



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