RIYADH: The Health Ministry has launched a nationwide program via its e-portal to encourage people to walk 30 minutes per day for five days per week to maintain good health.
Obesity among children and adults due to lack of exercise is common in the Kingdom.
The government has set up walking areas in the main cities to encourage the public to exercise regularly.
There are popular walking areas near King Fahd Medical City, Nasseriya Park, Al-Salaam Park, King Abdullah Road on exit 10, Rabwah Al-Nahda Park and Rabwah Park.
Some hospitals have set up mobile units to check the blood pressure and glucose levels of people who patronize the walking areas.
According to Medinet, an online portal, walking is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to stay fit.
It is also a versatile form of exercise that can be done indoors (many malls and public buildings offer walking routes) or outdoors.
In one study, mortality rates among retired men who walked less than 1 mile per day were nearly twice that of those who walked more than 2 miles per day.
Another study found that women who walked at an easy pace for at least 1.5 hours per week had significantly better cognitive function and less cognitive decline than those who walked less than 40 minutes per week.
Research shows that postmenopausal women who walk approximately 1 mile per day have greater bone density than those who walk shorter distances. Walking is also effective in slowing the rate of bone loss in the legs.
One study showed that walking for 30 minutes, three to five times per week for 12 weeks reduced symptoms of depression, as measured with a standard depression questionnaire, by 47 percent.
According to another study, women who walked briskly between an hour and 15 minutes and 2.5 hours per week had an 18 percent decreased risk of breast cancer compared with inactive women.