May is National Walking Month, and here at Webb Associates we’re once again going that extra mile – but this time, on foot!
As every dog owner knows, walking works best when it’s taken as part of your everyday life, rather than making it a big, but very occasional, production involving rucksacks, boots and Kendal Mint Cake.
Some of the staff here make a real effort to walk to work every day – for health, for fitness and, OK if we’re being honest, because the parking isn’t great.
Our copywriter Sharna, for example, walks 2.8 miles a day to work and back, or 14 miles a week. That’s about four hours walking every week.
“It doesn’t feel like that much, because there are plenty of pauses at road crossings in the town,” she says. “But if you’re going to start exercising, you need to start walking.
“It helps with health and fitness and it helps you think as well. And I like to people watch – I smile and nod and say ‘hello’ to other regular walkers along the way.”
Walking to work is a great way to exercise without thinking too hard about it. Even if it’s impractical to walk the whole way to work, you can park your car further away from the office (and somewhere cheaper?) or get off the bus a stop early to get in your 20 minute walk.
You could even pack the walk into your lunch hour. The UK charity for everyday walking, www.livingstreets.org, suggests setting up a Food Exclusion Zone (FEZ) around your workplace, and making sure you walk for at least 20 minutes when buying your lunch.
Or after work, if you haven’t decided what to have for the evening meal, just walk to the local shops and back.
Even if you’re one of the increasing number of people who work from home, you can walk to work! Start your 9am day by leaving the house at 8.40am for that 20‑minute circular walk. Yes, it’s a bit eccentric. But it really will help you make that difficult shift from ‘leisure home’ to ‘working home’
Walk the children to school, walk to the pub (no nominated driver needed) walk to the restaurant, walk with your boyfriend/girlfriend (romantic), walk to a friend’s house and back, walk WITH a friend.
Walk with a purpose if it helps – whether it’s to the Post Office to return the internet shoes, or to the newsagents to buy milk and the local paper.
Walk in all but the foulest weathers, because – honestly – no one ever died from drizzle.
And walk whenever you can – and not just in May. Because walking isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your mind. It makes your thoughts blossom.
People have always known this – 150 years ago the philosopher Nietzsche said “all truly great thoughts are conceived by walking” – but it’s something we’ve half-forgotten. So walk to make yourself clever!
And then, by the time the weekend comes, if the family does fancy a serious walk with a capital ‘W’, and you hear the distant rustle of an OS map, you’re not filled with dread, because – without even meaning to – you’ve done all the necessary training.