It’s time to get walking for National Walking Month! – Dr David Crichton

After the last year, more of us than ever are appreciating the chance to get out in the fresh air for a walk. It’s so important to keep active, it’s good for both our minds and our bodies.

Walking has been a lifeline to many of us, helping people stay active and connected. It’s one habit we should all be keeping beyond the pandemic, not only for our personal health and wellbeing, but we are also significantly lowering our carbon footprint by walking more and driving less.

May is National Walking Month and now that the evenings are lighter, it offers the perfect opportunity to get outside, and get walking.

According to a 2017 NHS survey, 1 in 4 adults in England get less than 30 minutes exercise a week; incorporating more walking into your daily routine could be the answer to a healthier lifestyle.

Walking has a host of health benefits that you can use to motivate you to introduce walking into your daily lives. It’s good for you because it strengthens your heart and reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes. It also helps you to lose weight gradually – walking at around 2mph for 30 minutes will help you to burn around 75 calories – if you increase the speed/ time you will burn off more calories.

Many muscles in your body are activated during walking including your calves, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and abdominals, so give it a try and give yourself a full body workout.

Walking gives you energy and helps you feel you happy, boosting your circulation and increases your oxygen supply which will keep you feeling alert and awake. Walking can be a great helping hand if you are suffering from depression, anxiety or feeling stressed.

Here in the UK, there are lots of people who are Vitamin D deficient, the best way to increase your levels is to spend some time in the sunshine. Vitamin D is good for your bone health, as well as your immune system so it’s important to maintain a good level of Vitamin D in your body.

These are just some of the reasons why we should all try to incorporate walking into our daily routines. A few steps each day can make a big difference to your life. Whether it’s walking the children to school, taking the dog for a runabout in the park or parking that bit further away from the supermarket when you pick up groceries, walking is free, healthy and good for the soul and mind.

If you would like to help get people involved or raise awareness of walking there are many things you can do including raising money for your favourite charity by walking every day, asking local schools to promote ‘walk to school week’ or do a walking challenge with colleagues at work. For more ideas, resources and activities take a look at the Living Streets’ national walking webpage.