National Walk to Work Day: Taking steps to a healthier you

Take steps to a healthier you by participating in National Walk to Work Day on Friday 5th April.

NHS Choices recommend that 10,000 steps a day will help you maintain a healthy fitness level but with our 21st Century sedentary lifestyles, sometimes that can be hard to fit in.

A great way to squeeze in a bit of exercise is to try walking to and from work. Obviously, it depends where you live and your proximity to your place of employment – those with a lengthy commute by car will have limited options – but with some careful planning, you can really make it work for you. Fitting in that morning walk can result in a far more energised individual, ready to face the challenges of the working day. Not only do you get much needed exercise, you get fresh air, thinking time, a natural break between home and work-life and if you follow our tips below, you can utilise the time to tick off even more of your daily goals.

So, before you stride out, read our list of top tips

1. Try going to bed a little sooner and waking up earlier. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than necessary – that way you won’t feel under pressure and end up rushing. Walking in the morning is supposed to help improve your health and wellbeing, not add to the stress. You don’t want to arrive at work flustered.

2. Wear a comfy pair of trainers or flat shoes. No-one likes to start the day with blisters or sore calves. Keep your heels or stylish loafers at work under your desk so you can do a quick change when you enter the office. A colleague of mine once had a cupboard that was packed with shoes for every outfit. When she eventually moved on from the organisation, she had to get a taxi home because she couldn’t get them all back on the metro!

3. If you drive to work, try parking across town and walking 20-30 minutes to your place of work. This might even save you money as parking in the suburbs or outskirts of a town is often cheaper (more money to spend on comfortable trainers!) If you get the bus, metro or tram, try getting off a stop or two earlier.

4. Try listening to music on the walk in. If you want to switch off and relax, try something melodic and soothing; or to keep up the pace, try a playlist designed for runners. Something rhythmic will help you maintain speed and keep you focused.

5. Why not download a podcast to listen to? Try something that you’ve always wanted to learn about or listen to a discussion or debate on a topic you are really interested in. It will not only help pass the time but it’s a great way to multi-task – by learning something new you’ll be exercising your mind as well as your body!

6. Be social and get your friends in on the action. If you live nearby, give them a knock (like the old days) or meet them at a mutually convenient midway point. If you work at different places, it can be great to get second opinions on work problems. Or you might just want to talk about the latest Game of Thrones episode!

7. Dress for the weather. Here in Cumbria, the weather can be a little ‘challenging’ and often unexpected. Invest in a water proof coat or umbrella so you don’t get caught out by the rain and always have a few layers handy to put on or take off – there’s no guarantee that the weather will be the same when you arrive as it was when you left the house!

8. Invest in a step counter or download an app for your phone. There’s nothing like setting yourself a daily, weekly or monthly goal to get you motivated. Try getting colleagues involved and set up an office league table. You know you’ve always wanted to beat sporty Dave in Accounts!  Did someone say competition? Ready? Steady? Go!

11 reasons why walking is good for you.

1. It burns calories

2. It tones muscle

3. It strengthens your heart

4. It eases joint pain

5. It enables you to get fresh air (usually)

6. It boosts your energy

7. It boosts your immune system

8. It extends your life

9. It boosts your mood

10. It encourages creative thinking

11. It connects you with the world around you

Never one to do things by half, the team at Choose Occupational Health have set themselves a step challenge starting on Walk to Work Day. They are going to see who can get the most steps over the course of the week. Follow them on Facebook to check out their progress.

For information on health and wellbeing promotions for your workplace or health screening and health surveillance contact one of our step happy team on 01228 513687 today.