With the days getting longer and the weather warming up, there is no better time to start thinking about getting out for a walk. There are lots of physical and psychological benefits to walking as well as the benefits to the environment if it means using the car less. It is a cheap and easy way to get active; all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes.

To stay healthy, it is recommended by the National Institute for Health Care Excellence to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week, which could include a brisk walk. In a study of over 260,000 people in the UK, it was found that there were significantly fewer incidences of cardiovascular disease and cancer in people who commuted to work actively through walking or cycling compared to those who used cars or public transport. Regular walking has also been shown to have psychological benefits such as improving mood and decreasing feelings of anxiety.

Health benefits of physical activity:

  • Can help to maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes
  • Can increase mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Maintain bone density

Here at The Fire Fighters Charity, we utilise the benefits of walking for both beneficiaries and staff when they’re visiting on certain programmes. At our centres, we get out for daily walks and for some injuries/conditions we may get people walking in the hydrotherapy pool or on the anti-gravity treadmill to reduce the load going through the joints. It is also a great social activity exploring the great outdoors as a group.

Ways to in incorporate more walking into our daily lives

  • Walk to work
  • Use the stairs rather than the lift
  • Walk across the office to talk to a colleague rather than sending an email
  • Arrange to go out for a countryside walk with friends or family

It is easy for things to get in the way of getting outdoors or doing physical activity, but there are some useful ways to try and stay motivated. You can involve others so that you can motivate each other. Joining a walking group is a great way to meet new people and explore new places. Most modern phones have the ability to count the number of steps that you take as you go about your day, a great tool to track how you are doing.