Walk This May
Contact: Kathryn Shaw, Communications and Media Manager ,Living Streets, firstname.lastname@example.org
May is National Walking Month, a special chance to celebrate the joys of walking and being active.
Many of us are appreciating being able to get out for a walk at the moment. It remains incredibly important to keep active, both for our own wellbeing and to avoid storing up massive health problems for ourselves and the NHS in the future.
Walking is one of the most accessible ways to stay active. Just 20 minutes can help improve our wellbeing and connect us with what’s around us.
National Walking Month is organised by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking. This year, the charity is urging everyone to #Try20 – walk for 20 minutes every day throughout May to maintain their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Health experts recommend a brisk daily walk as an easy way to improve your health with a 20-minute walk being shown to reduce the risk of a number of preventable health conditions, including certain cancers, depression, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
The charity has issued #Try20 tips for how to walk safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how to keep your daily exercise interesting, with activities for families, people working from home and those who are restricted to indoor exercise.
The tips are accompanied by various podcasts with well-known personalities talking about the benefits of walking, including Olympic champion Chris Boardman MBE, Dame Sarah Storey and Professor Shane O’Mara – author of In Praise of Walking.
Supporting the campaign, Chris Heaton-Harris MP said, “This challenge will encourage people to safely stay on the move, and hopefully inspire people to develop new active travel habits that will last a lifetime.”
Walking with children
Health experts tell us that children should be active for at least one hour every day to keep fit and healthy. Currently one in five boys and one in six girls of primary school-age don’t achieve this. This is contributing to one in three children leaving primary school either overweight or obese.
Finding ways to move more is incredibly important, which is why walking is so great. Walking is one of the easiest ways to fit some more movement into your day, which is why Living Streets wants all children who can walk to school to be able to do so.
When you’re physically active, it’s good for your mind too. It can help children feel more alert and ready to learn, whether that’s at school in a temporary home classroom.
Also, the more we walk, the fewer cars there are on our roads. This helps reduce air pollution, road danger and climate change. Some people think that children are more protected from dirty air inside the car, however that isn’t the case. And there is evidence that being physically active outweighs the air pollution risk.
Each week since the COVID-19 pandemic put the UK into lockdown, Living Streets has been releasing new activities for children to do to keep your walks fun, fresh and exciting – and most of all, safe.
Visit livingstreets.org.uk/May for links to all the #Try20 tips activities and share how you’re celebrating #NationalWalkingMonth on social media.
The daily commute has changed drastically for a lot of us in recent weeks. Walking can help ease two of the big side effects of the situation coronavirus presents us with – isolation and inactivity.
For those of you who used to walk or cycle to work, or fit a walk in whilst you were there, you might be finding you're not getting as active as normal if you’re working from home.
Living Streets want to help you to keep walking, whether that’s locally or at home if you’re self-isolating.
Visit livingstreets.org.uk/may for tips, inspiration and all the latest health advice to keep you #walkingfromhome
The road to recovery
This pandemic is making us all realise how much public space is given over to individual car use rather than walking and cycling.
Narrow footways, inappropriate speed limits and cars parked on pavements are all impacting on our ability to exercise safely. Now more than ever, we need to make sure there’s enough space for people to get out and walk.
Cities worldwide have started to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling so they can do so at a safe distance from others.
The Government recently announced a £250million emergency active travel fund to help make our streets better for people walking and cycling.
You can ask your local authorities to take action by completing Living Streets online form, asking for your council to reorganise our streets and public spaces to help physical distancing.
Ask your local authority to allocate more road space to people walking and cycling, visit www.livingstreets.org.uk/nwm