National Walking Month

A woman smiling
While walking through a city park, a beautiful female tourist with gray hair smiles with satisfaction.

The month of May brings an influx of fresh blooms and warmer weather, signaling that spring is well and truly upon us.

It is during this month that many people pledge to make the most of the better weather by getting fit and staying in shape, all the while embracing the great outdoors. That’s why charity Living Streets has launched its National Walking Month campaign, which encourages individuals to walk more often and reap the health rewards.

Here’s why you should choose to go by foot:

Health benefits

Putting down your car keys and embarking on a brisk walk brings many health benefits, not just in the short-term, but in the long-run too.

Researchers in Stanford found that walking outdoors in the fresh air can help to boost brain activity by heightening creative inspiration. The study involved participants engaging in creative brainstorming sessions while walking and sitting. Those who walked performed better in word-association tests that measured insight and focused thinking, than those who carried out the tests while sitting down.

The results of this study lend itself to improving job performance – for example, when you’re next stuck for inspiration on a work project, go for a walk outside to get your creative juices flowing.

Walking has also been shown to help those with a sweet tooth get rid of their cravings for sugary foods like chocolate, which – when consumed in high quantities – can increase the risk of health implications such as stroke and high blood pressure.

Walk more often

Although you might lead a busy lifestyle, there’s no excuse to not fit walking into your daily routine.

During the month-long campaign, Living Streets has also set up Walk to Work Week – a free event that challenges employees to walk to work.

All workplaces can opt to take part in this healthy challenge that enables colleagues to log their walks – whether it’s to work, a meeting or from lunch – add up total calories burned and take part in individual and team activities.

While you might not live close enough to walk to work, this doesn’t make you exempt from the challenge. You could drive part of the way, park your car and then walk the last stretch.

If you normally eat your lunch while sitting at your desk, make a conscious effort to get up and go outside for a brisk walk – even if it’s just for ten minutes or so.

Next time you consider getting in your car to make the two-minute drive to your local shop, reconsider and walk the journey instead.

Incorporating these small, but effective, changes into your lifestyle will make a big difference to your health, fitness and overall mood.

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