May is National Walking Month which is a national campaign urging people to hang up the car keys, put down the bus pass, lock-up the bike and experience the many benefits that walking can bring.
Walking is a gentle, low impact form of exercise that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine without the need for a gym membership or special clothing.
Those who walk regularly are at lower risk of heart disease and according to The Stroke Association, a 30 minute brisk daily walk reduces the chance of suffering from a stroke by 27%. Walking also boosts Vitamin D, which is vitally important for strong bones and a healthy immune system, which will ultimately help you to fight disease and to recover from injuries.
Exercise releases feel-good endorphins which can boost your mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Studies show that a brisk walk can also help with mild to moderate cases of depression and the increased vitamin D levels you gain from being outside have also been linked to improved mental health.
Walking boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply throughout the body creating more energy, better focus and concentration. A short walk between lectures or on your lunch break can provide the same energy boost as a coffee or energy drink, and the best thing is that it’s totally free.
A 30 minute walk burns between 75 and 150 calories, depending on your walking pace. By incorporating a short walk into your daily routine you can burn calories and shed pounds.
Walking also helps you to build muscle and adds definition to calves, quads and hamstrings as well as toning your abs and waist. The Vitamin D that you will gain from spending more time outside may also assist with achieving a healthy weight. In a study, participants who took a daily vitamin D supplement and calcium tablet achieved greater weight loss than those taking a placebo supplement.
Walking is free to enjoy and brings with it many financial benefits through savings.
Swapping the daily commute with a walk will lower travel expenses, so if you live close enough to university to walk in, then you might want to consider popping that bus, train or Oyster card away, ditching the taxis and deleting the Uber app. If you have a car, hanging up the car keys and walking to uni can instantly save you parking and fuel costs. And if you decided to give up the car altogether you can make even bigger savings, as the total average cost of running a small car is £1,556 a year!
Walking is a great way of getting out and spotting things that you might not usually notice on your morning commute, such as wildlife, architecture and street art. It also allows you to enjoy short cuts and scenic routes that you might not usually be able to such as pedestrianised areas, shopping centres, parks and green spaces.
So take the pledge this May to get out more on foot and feel healthier, save on spending, gain energy and experience new sights.