Walk to work month: Why we should get moving

Last week was “Walk to Work Week” in the UK, a feature of ‘National Walking Month’ – Living Streets’ annual nationwide campaign to encourage us all to get moving!

It’s official – us Brits are one of the most sedentary nations.

It’s statistically showing that we’re desk and chair-bound from 9am until 5pm – at least five days a week.

Our inactivity doesn’t stop there; the majority of us are habitually flopping onto the sofa when we arrive home each evening.

The benefits of walking

It’s easy to incorporate walking into our daily lives, but as a nation we tend to overlook it, favouring higher intensity physical pursuits such as running, HIIT and cycling instead.

These types of cardiovascular activities are harder to fit into our daily routines, whereas walking is the most accessible, low-risk activity around.

It improves fitness, eases our stress levels and promotes all-round happiness. What’s not to love?!

Walking acts like a caffeine kick for the soul; spending time outside engaging in it has an instantly positive effect on our mood.

A 2013 British study found that the simple act of walking in green spaces allows our brains to enter into a state of meditation.

Cognitive functions increase when we’re enjoying the great outdoors with a 2008 study by Psychological Science showing that spending time in a natural environment increases memory, attention span and creativity

Still need some persuasion to slip on your trainers? Here are more reasons we should get walking…

1. Walking will benefit your skin

Cardiovascular exercise can be brilliant for preventing potential breakouts, as well as transforming the look and feel of our skin.

Walking helps to increase the body’s oxygen-rich blood flow, causing blood vessels to dilate and give skin a plump, healthy glow. Gentle perspiration caused by a brisk walk is good for pores too. Sweating can help detoxify and clarify more congested skin types, by helping to shift surface dirt from pores.

2. It may improve your immune system

Been struck down by a spring cold?

People who exercise regularly are thought to have stronger immune systems that those who do not.

Exercise boosts the cells in your body that are assigned to attack bacteria.

Studies have shown that people who work out regularly tend to take half as many sick days per year, compared to those that don’t.

Stressful environments suppress your immune system, whereas spending time in a natural environment reverses this effect.

A good reason to get out the office for a lunchtime stroll!

3. Walking will make you happier!

Our immediate environment directly impacts on our blood pressure, heartbeat and other stress factors.

A brisk walk in the fresh air lowers cortisol levels and floods our brain with endorphins – the good old happiness hormones.

The result? Feelings of stress are relieved, leaving us feeling refreshed and much perkier.

With ‘National Walking Month’ running until the end of May, there’s still plenty of time to get involved. Will you be ditching the bus and picking up a pedometer?

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