Taking brisk walks has health benefits similar to jogging, according to Ingo Froboese, a professor at the Health Centre of the German Sport University in Cologne.

This was the conclusion of a rough scientific study by the university, he said, noting that a walking speed of approximately 4.5 to 6 kilometres per hour was necessary.

“This type of exercise is particularly suitable for beginners since it’s not excessively demanding and puts optimal stress on the joints and bone structures,” Froboese remarked. He said that walking strengthened the cardiovascular system, increased lung capacity, lowered blood lipid levels and enhanced general well-being.

“Thirty minutes of brisk walking in the evening boosts fitness and keeps you healthy for a long time,” Froboese said. “People who accumulate metres and steps during the day are also doing a lot, though. Three walks lasting at least 10 minutes each and spread over the day improve heart and circulation, and guard against many diseases.”

The ideal amount of walking to protect your health is 10,000 steps daily, he said. A pedometer or step counter helps keep track of distances covered and is a good motivational aid as well.

But Froboese pointed out that more exertion was necessary to lose weight because “a half-hour walk burns about 200 kilocalories” — too few to shed pounds.