Life

Five easy steps to building a 20-minute walk into your day

Don't think you have time for a 20-minute stroll? Living Streets, a charity that promotes everyday walking, shares five simple tips with Abi Jackson to help make it happen

Plan a walk this weekend instead of going to the cinema

MAY, in case you weren't aware, is Walking Month – so how are you getting on with your step counts?

Walking is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways of keeping physically active, and taking Shank's mare is always more rewarding than sitting in a bus or car. Often, however, it can be easy for things to get in the way of taking a stroll.

A survey by Living Streets last year found more than half (54 per cent) of respondents admit they're reluctant to make a 20-minute journey on foot. This year, the charity surveyed more than 2,000 people living in the UK's 10 largest cities to find out why they aren't walking more, and more than half (56 per cent) said they would walk more if it were safer and easier, with traffic and poorly maintained pavements also cited.

Finding time can be a barrier, but one simple way to overcome this is to weave walking into your daily routine – make it part of your commute or lunch break and tap into the endless benefits a regular stroll can bring.

Here are Living Streets' five simple tips to work 20 minutes of walking into your day:

1. WALK TO WORK OR SCHOOL

The average person in Britain and Northern Ireland spends £1,000 a year on transport. You can easily cut these costs by walking to work, or walking your kids to school. If you can't walk the whole way, you can always skip a bus stop or park your car further away to add 20 minutes of walking to your journey.

2. KILL TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE

Incorporate daily chores into a lunchtime walk or weekend wander. Find out where the nearest post office, supermarket or bank is and take a stroll during your break to attend to these tasks. You'll feel energised and stress-free knowing you're on top of those nagging jobs, and add 20 minutes of walking to your day. Get out and about, and get stuff done.

3. TAKE A MINDFUL MEANDER

When a hectic week at work is getting you down, walking is the perfect way to zone out and rid yourself of any negative thoughts. Take time for yourself with a 20-minute stroll and absorb all the sights, smells and sounds of your surroundings. Some fresh air and a change of scenery will boost your energy and mood.

4. PLAN A WALKING ADVENTURE

Walking is a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones. Instead of sitting indoors or going to the cinema this weekend, why not plan a walking adventure? It's fun, free and hugely beneficial for health and wellbeing.

5. HAVE LUNCH AL FRESCO – NOT AL DESKO

As the weather improves, take an al fresco lunch break. Invite your colleagues to join you, pack up a picnic rug and lots of nibbles, and then get walking to find the perfect spot. Some fresh air and a change of scenery will boost your energy and productivity.

:: For more information, visit www.livingstreets.org.uk/nwm

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