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Walking for Health

Updated: May 3

Dad and 2 kids walking in the woods

May is national Walking Month, organised by Living its aim is to get more of us to #try20 20 minutes of walking per day. I am a big fan of walking and all of the benefits of it. Here is what the NHS says about walking

Walking really is one of the BEST forms of exercise, almost anyone can do it, it’s free and can be done pretty much anywhere. The health benefits of taking a brisk 20/30-minute walk everyday are:

· Improved cardiovascular fitness.

· Stronger bones and muscles.

· Increased energy levels.

· Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

· Calories burned = weight loss

· Lower risk of dementia

· Reduction in stress levels

· Improved sleep

But it isn’t just about the health benefits, walking is good for the environment, walking (or cycling) to work or school creates less noise and less pollution. It can save you money, not just by not having to pay for fuel or transport but a brisk 30-minute walk can be as beneficial to your health as an expensive gym class.

Walking can be social. You can choose to walk alone, or with friends or grab your partner and kids and make it a family affair! You can push the buggy or walk the dog. You can join a walking group to meet new people. It’s great to get out in the fresh air spending time connecting and catching up with people and depending on who you are with it can be a good time to bring up problems and worries.

Walking is a great way to get away from the tv and mobile devices that demand your attention so much at home and work, try to avoid looking down at your phone while walking, not only are you likely to bump into something but you will miss all the wonderful sights and sounds around you. All the while soaking up some Vitamin D and forming some awesome healthy habits.

Walking a little dog in woods in autumn

Walking can be incorporated into your working day, walk to and from work if possible or get off your transport a bit further away and walk the remainder of the journey. You could head out for a walk at lunchtime instead of sitting in the staff room scrolling through Facebook and have you thought about “walking meetings” where you can walk and talk, instead of staring at your colleagues or team member across the desk or boardroom table.

2 ladies in wheelchairs racing through a puddle

If you are physically unable to walk due to a health condition or disability, there are still many ways you can get outside and move, check out www.weareundefeatable to get some ideas and support.

Walking really is for everyone, and can be done anywhere, even if you are living in a large town or city there are parks, heritage trails, canal towpaths, heaths and commons to discover.

What equipment do you need for walking? Well, nothing much really if you are just going on a daily walk in the park or around the block then just some comfy shoes and clothing appropriate to the British weather. Bear in mind you can get warm if you get a good pace going.

You may find that after a while you want to take your walking up a notch and go farther afield and If you get in to hiking or going more off road you may want to invest in some sturdy walking boots or shoes and of course if you become really hooked (like me) you can purchase all sorts of items, special socks, maps & map holders, waterproof trousers, walking poles etc.

Where can you walk. Well as I mentioned before there may be heritage trails or signposted footpaths. You can also find guided walking route maps in information or visitor centres or books are available with circular routes in particular areas. For longer trails you could download an app such as Komoot or All Trails Although you do have to pay a subscription fee for these but you can find a list of free apps on the British Heart foundation page Some of these record your activity and some provide routes. I personally love to pore over my Ordnance survey map to find local footpaths, bridleways and permissive paths.

Who can you walk with? If you prefer to walk in a group either for company or because you feel safer if someone is guiding you, there are loads of ways to find them. Your local authority might have information on walking groups and routes, why not head to their website. You can also try by searching online or Facebook search “walking groups near me” or go to This is also a great way to meet new people. Check your staff intranet to find out if your organisation runs any walking groups & if they don’t perhaps you could consider setting one up?!

If you really want to challenge yourself, you could even sign up to a charity walk & raise some money just go to your search engine and type in charity walking challenges and pick one that means something to you.

Whatever type of walking you do the key is to be consistent and get out regularly make it a part of your routine. As we have said before a short 20-minute brisk walk 3 or 4 times a week can provide huge benefits to your health and wellbeing

Woman standing ona bridge looking at a map

A word of warning!! walking can be addictive, and you could find yourself like me spending your weekends poring over an ordnance survey map, clambering over styles or debating the pros and cons of double layer socks!

Talk to a People at Work first responder and find out how we can be part of your wellbeing support. 020 3286 1545

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