It’s officially #NationalWalkingMonth! And, ofcourse, we’re supporting!
Firstly, did you know that 26% of UK adults take part in fewer than 30 minutes physical activity a week – shocking, right? Well, National Walking Month is all about encouraging and motivating a nation where walking is the natural choice for everyday local journeys. Living Streets, the National Walking Month organisation, have a mission to achieve a better walking environment and inspire people to walk more, and even better, this month is their 90th Anniversary (how incredible!)
So with that being said, what better way to celebrate, show our support, get involved and join the movement (see what we did there 😉), than by sharing some of the great benefits of walking with you lovely readers!
And it doesn’t stop there, we want you to keep a spring in your step following on from National On Your Feet Britain day last month (if you haven’t already – check out our top tips blog here!) by encouraging your staff, colleagues, friends or family to sit less and move more!
We all know that exercise is good for our health, but to keep our bodies (and minds) in tip top condition, we don’t need to be fully-trained Olympian athletes or indeed world champion long-distance runners. In fact, the simple act of walking – whether a swift stride to the shops, a leisurely stroll through the park, or a brisk power-walk round the block – can have a huge impact on both our mental and physical wellbeing. Fantastic news!
There are of course the obvious benefits – such as helping us lose weight, improving circulation, and boosting vitamin D. But there are also those not-so-obvious ones, and we’ve put together a list of just a few of these for you.
There’s no time like the present! Whether you’re a manager, employee, parent or friend – did you know that walking…
Makes Us Happy
One of the major benefits of walking is stress relief as the act of physical exercise increases concentrations of norepinephrine in the body – a chemical which moderates the brain’s response to stress. Studies¹ have shown that a brisk walk can be just as effective in mild and moderate cases of depression as antidepressants – with only positive side-effects.
Employees who regularly exercise are said to be far more productive and have much more energy than their more sedentary counterparts. Not only that, but 12noon is apparently the optimum time of the day to reap the benefits so, if you fancy surviving the midday slump, be sure to take that lunchtime stroll. Some organisations even run dedicated walking clubs at break times – great for relieving those work tensions, enhancing relationships with colleagues, and boosting afternoon outputs. Not only this, but regular exercise can cause an overall work performance boost of about 15% – great!
Walking, like all forms of physical exercise, boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degradation of the hippocampus – a vital part of the brain for memory and learning. Researchers have found that walking for just 20 minutes a day boosts memory and improves overall brain function
It’s widely reported that the late (and hugely successful) founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, regularly held meetings on the move. And, research by Stanford University supports his thinking by demonstrating that walking significantly boosts creative inspiration. Friedrich Nietzsche even said all those years ago that ‘all truly great thoughts are conceived by walking’ – so if you want to get those creative juices well and truly flowing, get up on your feet!
Is Kind on Your Pocket
Walking is of course one of the most accessible forms of exercise, with no need for expensive membership fees, fancy equipment, or the latest Lycra number! In fact, all you need is yourself, a pair of shoes, and some good old motivation to get outdoors (or indeed indoors!).
By asking friends, family members or colleagues to join you, you can make a simple walk into a full-on social occasion. Whether that’s catching up on the latest gossip, being an open ear for a mate in need, or putting the world to rights – forge those bonds whilst improving your health!
Boosts the Economy
Walking schemes can reduce the amount of sick days taken by staff, leading to lower absenteeism costs for the business. A report supported by the Walking for Health initiative found that physical inactivity costs the UK economy up to £10 billion a year through sick days, healthcare costs, and early deaths – so do it for your country and get your walking shoes on!
Boosts Morale and Job Satisfaction
Demonstrating that you care about staff health and wellbeing by investing in walking activities will make them fee valued and proud of their workplace. Not only this, but a highly engaged workforce can in fact improve operating income by an impressive 19.2% – we think that makes having a lunchtime walk everyday definitely worth it!
Phew – sounds great, right? Regular walking really can benefit us, so be sure to get those walking shoes out of the cupboard and take them for a short stroll each day of the week!
Finally, in the words of American poet and essayist, Gary Snyder…
“Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation, a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind. Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility.”
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves – happy National Walking Month everyone!