What is Walk To Work Day?
We all know that movement is good for us, but things often get in the way of us being more active.
Walk To Work Day falls on the first Friday in April each year. It is a great reminder for us all to move more, not just today, but every day. The government recommends that adults do 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week to achieve and maintain health, however many of us fall short of that mark. An increase in working from home has also had an impact on many people, making it much easier to lead a sedentary lifestyle.
There are so many incredible benefits to walking more, from a physical, mental and emotional perspective. It can even have an impact on our concentration and productivity at work. We all live busy lives, but walking can be a really simple way to increase daily activity, we really are talking small steps to big health.
Kathryn Brown, Associate Trainer at We Are Wellbeing, explains the benefits of walking, and some practical ways to increase our steps.
Why should we walk more?
The benefits of regular walking are huge, and even 10 minutes a day can have an impact on health. Here are 10 reasons why we should walk more:
- Regular walking can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
- Walking is a weight bearing exercise and improves and maintains bone density, it can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
- As well as increased bone strength, walking strengthens muscles too. This keeps us feeling stronger and takes the pressure off our joints.
- Walking throughout the day increases the overall amount of energy used, and can aid in the maintenance or loss of weight.
- Aside from the physical benefits, walking can lighten your mood and can help to ward off anxiety and depression.
- Walking outside gives us the added benefit of nature, research has shown that people who spend more time in nature are likely to feel happier.
- Exercise releases a chemical called endorphins, these stimulate relaxation and can help to reduce stress.
- Taking a regular break and getting some steps in can help to increase productivity and attention, making us perform better at work.
- Regular movement throughout the day can improve sleep quality. Exercise and exposure to natural light keeps our sleep, wake patterns in order and helps us to feel tired at night.
- A number of studies link regular walking to a longer life expectancy.
In addition to all of these benefits, walking more can have a positive environmental impact, and it’s free!
How can I increase my daily steps?
Staying active doesn’t have to mean a big commitment and simple changes to your daily routine are a great place to start. Here are some simple strategies for you to try:
- Commit to walking to work, just 1 or 2 days a week to start with.
- If you live too far away, commit to a 10-minute walk before or after your journey.
- Set yourself a work from home ‘commute’, instead of going straight to your home office, go for a 10-minute work before and after work to start and finish your day on a positive.
- Set boundaries and utilise your lunch break, go for a walk and re-set for the afternoon.
- Set a reminder on your phone or in your diary to get up and move every hour.
- Rope your colleagues into ‘walking meetings’, this can be done face-to-face, or on the phone.
- Set up a monthly walking challenge with your colleagues, could you walk the equivalent of the Great Wall of China?
- Take the stairs instead of the lift, park further away from the shops, get off the bus a stop earlier…remember, those small extras add up.
Finally, rather than trying to overhaul everything at once, choose one or two ways to up your daily movement and stick with them. Hopefully, Walk To Work Day 2022 can inspire us all to be a bit more active.