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Walk your way to good health

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Cormac O Raghallaigh (11) Emily Haughton (left, 11), both of whom have arthritis, and her sister, Mya Haughton (4) called on employees and companies to beat the January blues by taking on a fundraising activity in aid of people with arthritis. Arthritis affects almost a million people in Ireland, including more than 1,000 children. www.arthritis.ie

Cormac O Raghallaigh (11) Emily Haughton (left, 11), both of whom have arthritis, and her sister, Mya Haughton (4) called on employees and companies to beat the January blues by taking on a fundraising activity in aid of people with arthritis. Arthritis affects almost a million people in Ireland, including more than 1,000 children. www.arthritis.ie

Fennell Photography

Cormac O Raghallaigh (11) Emily Haughton (left, 11), both of whom have arthritis, and her sister, Mya Haughton (4) called on employees and companies to beat the January blues by taking on a fundraising activity in aid of people with arthritis. Arthritis affects almost a million people in Ireland, including more than 1,000 children. www.arthritis.ie

The uplifting sight of more people out for their walk in streets and roads around the country is already evident this month, despite the cold weather.

Here's the good news about the health benefits they are enjoying, from the simplest but powerful form of exercise.

Just two hours of walking a week can reduce risk of stroke by 30pc

40 minutes three times a week protects the brain region linked to planning and memory

30 minutes a day can reduce symptoms of depression

Logging 3,500 steps a day lowers risk of diabetes by 29pc

75 minutes a week of brisk walking can add almost two years to your life

30 to 60 minutes most days of the week drastically lowers your risk of heart disease

Four hours a week can cut the risk of hip fractures by up to 43pc

A daily one-hour walk can cut risk of obesity in half

If, to begin with, you can only walk fast for a couple of minutes, that's fine. Don't overdo it on your first day. You can break up your activity into 10-minute chunks, as long as you're doing your activity at a moderate intensity.

Health & Living