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Getting out and about for National Walking Month

We're celebrating May as National Walking Month. Here are some top tips and ideas from our Eco Champions to help you get out and about

Posted by: The Environment Delivery Team on 18 April 2023 16:50
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Walking is one of the easiest ways to improve physical and mental health, helping us feel less lonely and isolated. It has great environmental benefits too - by swapping a short drive for a short walk, you can also help reduce air pollution, congestion and road danger - and save yourself some money and keep active in the process! 

According to Living Streets, the organisation running National Walking Month, a 20-minute walk can reduce the risk of a number of preventable health conditions, including certain cancers, depression, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.


Our eco champions have shared their tips and ideas for getting more steps in during their week:


Walk the children to school: We live about a mile from school, which is about a 20-minute walk, and fortunately partly downhill on the way to school. On our route we like to see how the trees are changing as the seasons change, and at the moment we are loving all of the cherry blossom. I think the fresh air helps wake up the children, as well as helping me get to my 10,000 steps a day. It also takes a car off the road, which helps as the roads and parking around school can be very busy - Cheryl


Local Heritage Walks: West Berkshire has a wealth of heritage ranging from early prehistoric finds to remnants of the Cold War - these can be seen as archaeological sites, historic buildings and even the landscapes around us. These heritage assets make up the historic environment of the district, which can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. The walks are available to download as PDFs from the West Berkshire Heritage website here and include directions, a route map, description of heritage Points Of Interest and links to where you can find out more - Becky


Walking errands: I try to incorporate walking with running errands on my lunch break. I walk to the post office, instead of driving. It allows me to go a more scenic route, get some exercise and enjoy the sunshine! It also has the bonus of avoiding the traffic jams - Helen


Walking meetings: When I'm in the office, I try to make my face-to-face meetings or catch ups a walk so we can get away from our desks and stretch our legs. Sometimes just taking our reusable cups to a local cafe to get a hot drink is a nice change - Megan


Exploring our Public Rights of Way: There are 700miles (give or take) of Rights of Way in West Berkshire across urban and countryside areas. The network connects places to each other and there are plenty of walks to be had - you can click here for parish walking routes. On the interactive map on the Councils website, the districts Rights of Way can be viewed under: Layers-Countryside-Rights of Way. If you wish to walk with a purpose to get somewhere or just getting out of the house for exercise there are plenty of routes to choose from - if time allows it can be good fun to use the less popular routes, explore somewhere new or mix up routes for your journeys. Some of the large estates have permitted routes on their land but remember to check on their websites for permissions, and stick to marked routes which may be shown on their on site orientation boards- Matt


Walk in a group: I went along to my first "Plodding Planner" walk that my team leader has been organising. It was really good to see people, and meant exercise and socialising. It doesn't feel so tiring when you are walking with other people. The chocolate eggs that a friend brought along helped - Kate


Take advantage of working from home: Now spring is finally on the way (we hope!), why not make the most of the warmer weather and longer day light hours and get out of the house for a walk? If you are working from home then walking first thing is a great way to prepare for the day and feel energised before you switch on your PC! Equally an evening stroll is a great way to de-stress after a busy day and often helps me gather my thoughts and put problems into perspective. If 'topping and tailing' your day with a walk just isn't possible, then try to get out half way through your working day. A change of scene and exercise (no matter how slow or how far) can make a difference to our physical and mental health - Jo


Helpful Apps and Websites:

Download OS maps: I have the app on my phone, and can see all the local footpaths. It's great to be able to explore a new walk when going somewhere, or even when nearer to home. This also works very well when borrowing a friend's dog! - Kate


The Conqueror virtual challenges: You have to pay, but you choose a medal to work towards, which is based on a route of a set length. For example, I started with the Giza Pyramids (click here for info). There is an app, which can either be linked to a smart watch, or you can enter manually how far you have walked. You can see on a map how far round you are, and you can set a time goal to help motivate you. Every so many miles you get an electronic "postcard" with some details relating to the challenge you have chosen. Once you have walked the equivalent distance you can claim your medal, and they are pretty nice! There are loads of different challenges of varying lengths. There are even a few related to the Lord of the Rings if the real-world locations don't appeal - Kate


Borrow My Doggy: I like nature, the fresh air and exercise but didn't have anyone to walk with and found it difficult to walk on my own and had no motivation to do so. In 2018 I found the website BorrowMyDoggy - Local Dog Walking, Sitting & Holiday Care and joined up; it links those that need help with their dogs to people who can't have a dog but would like the company and exercise from your local area, it is voluntary and designed to suit your needs. I have been walking Meg once a week for the last four years or so, she is always so pleased to see me or maybe it's the treats in my pocket, either way she puts a smile on my face and gets me walking - James


MapMyWalk: This is a free app that tracks time spent walking, distance, speed, elevation and calories burned. You can also share routes with friends or select routes that other users have done in your area - Sadie


World Walking app: If you want a walking challenge, then why not try the World Walking app which allows you to choose from over 400 of the world's most famous trails to build up your step rate over time - Sadie


The Walk app: this app is great for those wanting pure escapism: a bomb has exploded in Inverness station and you are given a package that could save the world. To stay alive you will need to walk the length of the UK  - Sadie


Fantasy Hike app: this is only available from the App Store. A Lord of the Rings inspired walking app where you join Frodo on his path to Mount Doom! - Sadie


You can find a lot more tips on the official National Walking month website here. Try out new ways to get walking for 20 minutes and start feeling those healthy benefits.


Last modified: 02 May 2023 16:04

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