Give up the couch potato life and feel the benefits of a stroll in the fresh air

Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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Children are being encouraged to get outdoors by the National Trust, which has drawn up a list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 and three-quarters.

The activities are intended to encourage youngsters away from a couch-potato lifestyle.

But why should kids have all the fun? Adults can also benefit from getting out and about.

Even a regular short walk could help boost your chances of staying fit and avoiding illnesses such as heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes.

Adults should walk for at least 30 minutes a day for five or more days a week.

But research by charity Living Streets found that around 64 percent of us walk for less than hour a week.

Living Streets, which works on behalf of pedestrians, is running a 2012 Great British Walking Challenge in May – urging more people to stretch their legs and go for a stroll.

‘There are so many physical, psychological, social and financial benefits to be gained from walking,’ says Tony Armstrong, the charity’s chief executive.

‘We think people will be amazed at what a difference a short blast of fresh air can do for them.

‘Not just improving your physical health but putting you in a great mood, helping you calm down or cheer up, catch up with old friends or make new ones.

‘Research shows that regular exercise such as taking the stairs rather than the lift can turn back the clock by three years, and regular walking can reduce the risk of many illnesses such as heart disease.’

n To find out more about the Great British Walking Challenge log on to livingstreets.org.uk