National Walk to Work Week started on Monday and will run till Friday 15th May. Apologies for the delay in getting this message to you, us Garden Escapees have been battling with a broken internet and so have had an enforced 5 days of screen freedom. Much time has been filled, not so much walking TO work, but walking INSTEAD of work and the mind, body and soul (not to mention the dog) are all very grateful. It is so beautiful out there at this time of year: whether you are a rural or an urban dweller, the trees are bursting into leaf, wild flowers are colonising every sunny spot in woodlands, parks and meadows and the birds are in full voice.
So try disembarking or parking a half hour walk from your place of work and start striding out: amongst the many great things about walking are that it’s convenient, free and predictable. 30 minutes walking per day means that you will instantly hit the 150 minutes weekly recommended level of physical activity and, if you walk briskly at 4 mph, it will burn the calorific equivalent of a jam doughnut…every work day!
Regular walking is one of the best holistic therapies for improving our physical and mental well-being. Physically, it reduces levels of bad LDL cholesterol whilst simultaneously raising levels of the good stuff (HDL) and lowering our blood pressure. All this adds up to a reduction in the risk of coronary disease and stroke and can dramatically lower the chances of contracting breast and bowel cancer, Type 2 diabetes and asthma.
Not only does walking burn calories, but it also improves muscle mass and tone which speeds up your metabolism so that your body continues to burn more calories even when you are sat at your desk. As if that’s not enough to get you walking, it increases bone density and maintains healthy joints (staving off osteoporosis and arthritis) and protects brain function and memory (significantly reducing the risk of dementia).
A quick 30 minute walk is also energising and will lift your spirits, as the endorphins that your body will release serve to diminish feelings of stress and anxiety. A survey by mental health charity Mind, found that physical exercise improved the mood of over 80% of those suffering from poor mental health. They found that the greatest benefit was reaped by those exercising outdoors, preferably somewhere green.
So, get walking to work, absorbing the sights and sounds of spring as you go, and arrive at your desk feeling fitter, energised and happy……and enjoy that doughnut.