May is National Walking Month
April 27, 2023
Throughout May we will be supporting Living Streets campaign for National Walking Month.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to improve physical and mental health and stay connected to our community, helping us feel less lonely and isolated. And by swapping a short drive for a short walk, you can also help reduce air pollution, congestion and keep active in the process!
Did you know that a regular 20-minute walk can reduce the risk of a number of preventable health conditions, including certain cancers, depression, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes?
Living Streets have put together 20 tips to help you fit 20 minutes of walking into your day. From inviting friends and family for a walk to taking a post-work stroll, how many #Try20 tips can you do during National Walking Month?
From walking to school, walking to work, walking to the shops or joining in one of the many regular walking groups operating across Cumbria there are so many ways to get involved with National Walking Month and something to suit all ages and abilities.
Ways to get involved:
Go on a scavenger hunt! A scavenger hunt can be great for younger children. See how many different things you can spot in your local area – Living Streets have some dedicated booklets and activity packs available with the #Try20 Scavenger Hunt! You could count how many times you see something – like park benches, pedestrian crossings or people –and you can also print out the scavenger hunt sheet to keep little ones busy once you get home.
Active Start for Early Years - Walking provides many opportunities to socialise and communicate with our little ones. What can they see and what can they hear when they’re out and about? Encourage them to move in different direction – backwards, sideways, circles or zig-zags. Why not try walking like their favourite animals or even go on a scavenger hunt. Help early years children to embark on an active start by venturing out and about during National Walking Month.
Walk to school and go on a wellbeing walkabout! There are lots of ways to be active but walking is one of the simplest to fit into your day. We’ve developed a Wellbeing Walkabout resource around the five ways to wellbeing for children and families to use as part of a daily walk which could include walking to school. Check out the resource here.
Is your school a Street Tag school? Enjoy a weekend family walk, walk to the park, walk to school and gain Street Tag points along the way by capturing tags with the Street Tag app. More about Street Tag here.
Find your local Ramblers Wellbeing Walk! Short group walks which make it easier to start walking and stay active. All walks are led by trained Walk Leaders across the County, and provide a great opportunity not only to improve your health through regular walking but also to explore your local area whilst meeting new people. Walks aim to be suitable for people of all ages and abilities and our leaders will ensure that you walk at a pace that you find comfortable. Find walks near you here Visit the Ramblers Wellbeing Walks website here
The Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines (2019) encourage all adults (including 65 and over) to accumulate 150 mins (or 22 mintues a day!) of moderate intensity activity a week, such as brisk walking. Nordic walking can support and guide while you work to improve fitness and burns around 20% more calories compared to walking without poles.
Walking for Older Adults
When you find exercise difficult or aren't sure how to be more active, walking is a great activity. Don't feel that you have to take long walks every day. It's better to make walking a part of your everyday routine. If your pace makes you feel a bit out of breath, but you can still hold a conversation, that's ideal. But if that's not manageable for you right now, any kind of activity is better than nothing!
How walking can improve your health
- It helps you lose weight
- It keeps your heart strong
- It reduces your risk of cancer
- It reduces your risk of Type 2 diabetes
- It strengthens your bones
- It improves your mood and mental wellbeing
- It reduces your risk of dementia
If you are currently walking less then 3000 steps a day, you stand to benefit a great deal from each 1000 steps you can add to that count – and there is no upper limit where you will stop feeling the benefits so keep going!
AND don’t forget that walking is great but you need to do activities that will build your strength and improve your balance too. Carrying heavy shopping bags, going to the gym, doing yoga and tai chi as well as dancing or bowling will help to maintain your fitness and recover any fitness you may have lost through ill health or lockdown. Some activity is good, more is better – and don’t listen to anyone who says you need to do less because of your age. Find out about the Live Longer Better in Cumbria Programme
Or if you are busy working why not have a walking meeting! Make the most of the warmer weather and take your meeting outside! A quick walk in the fresh air will boost your energy and productivity, so try combining a work meeting – or phone call – with a stroll.
Travel Actively! Find out more about our new programme aimed to provide a wide range of walking (and cycling!) interventions in Barrow and Carlisle.
Other useful sources:
Get active - Better Health - NHS (www.nhs.uk) (Active 10 App)
Don't forget to follow us on social media as we will be sharing more walking information throughout the month. More here