Instead of sitting in traffic or struggling to find a seat on the bus or train, why not get outside in the great outdoors and try walking to work?
Friday (6 April) is Walk To Work Day, encouraging the nation to shake up their morning routine and pound the pavement before they start their working day.
Of course, if you live miles away from your place of work we’re not suggesting you set your alarm hours earlier, but getting off the bus a stop earlier, taking a detour to the train station or parking a little further away from your final destination could have a whole host of benefits.
According to the NHS, regular walking is proven to reduce your risk of multiple chronic illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, asthma, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. What’s more, it can also improve your mood and reduce your risk of depression.
“Not only does it burn calories, primarily fat, helping you control your body weight, it also activates multiple muscles within your body to keep them functioning the way they were designed to,” he said.
According to AXA PPP healthcare’s physiotherapist, Kristopher Robertson, who is supporting Walk To Work Day, in order to experience the greatest health benefits from walking commuters should aim to pick up the pace.
The average UK male weighing a little over 13 stone (184lb) walking at 3mph (or 20 minutes per mile) for 30 minutes will burn 144 calories, she said. However, if he ups the pace to 4mph (15 minutes per mile) he’ll burn 205 calories. Similarly, the average woman weighing 11 stone (154 lb) walking for 30 minutes will burn 119 calories at 3mph, but 170 calories at 4mph.
As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to increase your heart rate and lung function when walking. To do this, you should be able to talk, but not sing, while walking.
Walking more frequently to work could also save you money. According to a 2018 report from the Trades Union Congress, UK commuters spend up to five times as much of their salary on rail fares as other Europeans. By contrast, comparable commutes would cost a mere 2% of the average salary in France, 3% in Italy, 4% in Germany, and 5% in Spain and Belgium. Therefore if getting off the train or tube a stop or two early is an option for you, you could be saving big time.
If we all cut down on usage of public transport and cars in favour of walking, it could also have a beneficial impact on the environment. According to the Department for Transport, domestic and international transport accounts for around 26% of all UK greenhouse gas emissions.
The good news is a of people are already of reaping the benefits of walking to work. The latest Sport England ‘Active Lives’ survey of almost 200,000 respondents found walking remains the most popular physical activity. Around 18.6 million people regularly walk for leisure while 14.5 million people walk for travel. The latter saw an increase of 423,000 (0.7%) people on last year.
If you can’t walk to work, you could always try walking at work. Getting outside on your lunch break is not only a great way to enjoy spring, it could also increase your productivity for the afternoon. What are you waiting for?