It burns calories, can improve your mental health, save cash, and is a step towards going greener… walking, such a simple thing, is an activity that keeps on winning.
Today is national Walk To Work Day 2022. It’s probably unsurprising to hear that many of us lead much more sedentary lives than our previous generations, with work often meaning it’s necessary to sit down for large portions of the day.
The NHS says that walking for as little as 10 minutes each day has health benefits, and it’s free… as the cost of living rises, that can only be a bonus!
Tracy Belcher, the Team Leader Medical Secretary at St Hugh’s, walks to and from work.
“I walk to work every day as I only live 10 minutes away,” she said. “I usually take the same route, and it takes me about 10 to 11 minutes. It’s less than a mile.
“I used to use the car to get to work, as well as walking, but over the last two to three years I’ve been walking every day of the year, come rain or shine – although it’s much nicer on a spring or summer’s day! If the weather is really bad, one of my colleagues gives me a lift, but I don’t mind walking in the rain, to be honest.
“I call it my thinking time, and it is the only exercise I get in the week. “I do try to get out for a walk at the weekend, but I’m not always successful with this. Even if I lived a little bit further away, I would probably still walk every day. I enjoy the route here and back; I think about what I need to get done, or sometimes an idea pops into my head.”
Viktoria Brown, the hospital’s Referrals and Enquiries Team Leader, and Katy Fisher, who works in theatre, have joined forces to go for walks during their lunch breaks – a twist on the Walk To Work theme.
Viktoria – who also regularly cycles to and from work, having made a conscious decision to change her travelling habits – said: “We used to walk after work but decided after Christmas that we wanted to do it at lunch when the day is brighter.
“We go out for about 25 minutes and try to walk 1.5 miles in that time. We always feel better for going, even when we’re busy – it encourages us to take a break from our desks.
“The route varies. We have three we do and just decide on the day which one that will be, but if it’s sunny we go for the one with the least shade so we can enjoy the sunshine.
“We try to do this at least twice a week, and some weeks we’ve managed to get out every day. With having a desk-based job, it certainly helps with our step counts!”
If you’re thinking about building walking into your routine, the NHS recommends wearing a comfortable pair of shoes or trainers that provide adequate support and don’t blister. It also recommends building up your stamina, starting with shorter routes before moving onto longer ones.
For more hints and tips, visit: nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/running-and-aerobic-exercises/walking-for-health