Our boots are made for walking
It’s important to remember that you don’t always have to make a grand gesture or commit to doing something really big to make a difference. Often, small things have the most impact. Where fitness and mental health are concerned, for example, getting out in the open air for a short walk every now and again can be just as beneficial as taking on an enormous sporting challenge. Unless you’re absolutely committed, planning your activity, getting all the right gear and pushing yourself to your limits can soon lose its appeal. But nipping out for a walk round the block or into the nearest park is achievable, cost-free and simple for most people.
May has been designated as National Walking Month, a national celebration of walking, so there’s no time like the present to put all this to the test. Keeping active is so important to our health and wellbeing and a brisk walk will burn calories, build stamina and make your heart healthier. The benefits of taking a regular walk are significant and the NHS has an information and support section on its website dedicated to help motivate people into action.
Anyone who has ever taken a walk to get out of the home for a change of scenery, have a break from the working day or just make time for some quiet reflection will appreciate how valuable it can be. Getting out into the open air can help clear your head, put things into perspective and see the world differently, with research showing that exercise can boost mood and self-esteem, as well as reducing the risk of stress and depression. These benefits contribute to our general wellbeing, and the NHS recognises that “whatever your age, there is strong evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life”.
That is the reason that Drinkaware has always recommended walking, as part of our Drink Free Days campaign. For anyone thinking of cutting down on their alcohol consumption, taking up a new activity or making the most of something that is already part of your life is a good place to start. There is nothing simpler and easier than walking and, with the obvious health benefits associated with it, having a brisk walk as often as possible could make a significant difference to our health and wellbeing.
If you want to use National Walking Month as the catalyst for a healthier lifestyle and integrate more walking into your daily routine, there are a few tips that could help you get started:
- Leave the car at home for short journeys – taking the kids to school, popping out to the shops or running errands
- Walk the Talk – with more people working from home and often sat in front of a computer screen, get up and get moving when you’re on a call with work colleagues and walk whilst you talk
- If there’s an option, use the stairs instead of a lift
- Vary your route, pace and terrain, if you can, to give your body and mind some mental and physical stimulation
- Buddy up with a friend or family member so that you encourage and motivate each other or download the NHS Active 10 app to track your progress
Some of the team at Drinkaware have committed to get moving during National Walking Month and are raising money for charity in the process. Small steps, maybe, but ones that will make a difference in so many ways.