May is National Walking Month and Living Streets, the national charity that works to create safe, attractive and enjoyable streets, is encouraging everyone to get on their feet and feel the benefits of walking. Walking is fun, flexible and free – and has health benefits.
Five benefits of walking 30 minutes a day:
- Improving your mood – research has shown that regular walking improves your mood and walking outside also exposes you to natural sunlight, which can help the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) combatting the winter blues.
- Being creative – whether it is a problem at work that you cannot solve or a personal conflict with a loved one walking can be the solution to solve an issue that has arisen. Taking time out can give you the space you need to resolve a problem.
- Weight loss – regular walking can help improve your body’s response to insulin, which can help you reduce body fat. Daily walking also increases metabolism and burns extra calories.
- Health benefits – walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk of getting diabetes. It can also reduce the risk of having a stroke by 20% – 40%. Research has shown that people who walk for 30 minutes or more five times per week have a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Being more sociable – making your walks social with a friend, partner, neighbour or a colleague at lunchtime will mean that you are staying connected to the people that are important to you, which will also boost your mood.
Top tips to become more active:
- Move more and sit less each day
- Set yourself a daily target – e.g. 30 minutes
- Fit activity into your day
- Have walk and talk meetings
- Commute in a healthy way
- Move your body position every 60 minutes
- Join a gym class or walking group for support to keep you engaged
- Find an exercise buddy and friends
- Involve family in activity
Walking to school week: 21 – 25 May
Walking to school week takes place each May. Taking part in the Walking to school week benefits your and your family’s health as well as cutting congestion and reducing air pollution. Find out more on the Living Streets website.