Get Out and Stretch Those Legs This National Walking Month!

21/05/2013 14:37 BST | Updated 21/07/2013 10:12 BST
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Most of us can probably put our hands up and admit that we've vowed to ditch the car and start walking more to the shops or work on more than one occasion. But how many of us can honestly say we've stuck to that for longer than a few days?

As May is National Walking Month, there isn't a better time to kick-start your walking habit. Of course, it isn't always the best mode of transport, especially with our somewhat unreliable British weather, but making just a small change and walking to the local shops instead of driving, or to work if it's close enough, can bring with it big benefits in the long run.

Just the health benefits alone could be reason enough to start. Walking up to 30 minutes burns up to 130 calories, not to mention helps you relax. Next time you have a stressful day at work, instead of hopping on the bus stick those headphones in and enjoy a brisk walk home, it will even help you work up an appetite for dinner!

One of the other main factors of National Walking Month is of course, its environmental benefits. With cars accounting for up to 70% of air pollution, think how great it would feel to be a part of reducing this. It doesn't just have to stop at the end of May either, make it your task to walk as often as possible this summer and reduce your waistline and your carbon footprint at the same time - for me and my shape, that's a win, win situation! Think of it as a new summer's resolution!

I know it doesn't feel much like it at the moment, but summer is approaching, honest, and it'll make the thought of walking a lot more appealing. Instead of spending the bank holiday weekend indoors hiding from the cold, aim to walk somewhere - you could even plan different routes to make it all the more interesting.

Vary the pace too, speed walk to feel like you've done a workout, or if you're like me, take it slow to relax and clear your mind - it'll do wonders for your wellbeing. Furthermore, get the whole family involved by checking out local events. Unleash your creativity with the little ones by making up games on the walks, such as who can walk the fastest for ten minutes - no cheating, though!

Save money - use your legs! Depending on how much you use your car, you could probably save up to £100 a month if you swapped your daily drive for a walk. So both the environment and your wallet will be thanking you. You could even use the extra cash to spend on a well-deserved pub meal at the end of your weekend walk.

Whatever you choose, walking further and more often will benefit both you and the environment - go on, give it a try!

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