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National Walking Month!!

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The month of May marks National Walking Month, this event is run by Living Streets and is aimed at encouraging people to walk an extra 20 minutes a day.
Living Streets claim that there are multiple benefits to you doing this including burning calories, improving heart health and blood pressure, boosting your mood and feeling connected.

All of the benefits which the event promotes are real but I think it can sometimes be easy for people to read this and disregard them without a real world example. As the resident hiker here at Service Care Solutions I know how much fun walking can be and the personal benefits it can bring (I have even recently got a colleague into walking and he is quickly catching up my Wainwright’s tally), not only to your health but also your mental well-being too. So I thought I would tell you a little about some of the reasons why I love walking and hopefully encourage you to give it a go!

Now the event encourages people to walk an extra 20 minutes a day, for an average person that is about a mile, it’s not far, but to do that every day may become a bit of a chore. I think the most likely reason you would walk every day is if you, like me, have a dog!! I am instead going to talk more about walking as a pastime or hobby, it really shouldn’t be a chore and let’s face it for a busy person who has work, children and any number of other responsibilities it may not be practical to walk 20 minutes a day. You should make time to walk but only when it is practical for you to do so.

I am lucky enough to be only an hour away from the Lake District here in Preston and when I head up there and climb to the top of a fell, all my worldly troubles seem to fade away and it can feel as though I am a million miles away from any worries. There is a great sense of achievement when you conquer a fell and you really feel as though you have earned that Sunday roast by the end of the weekend. That’s another great thing about getting out of the house and walking, it really makes your weekends feel longer. When you get back to work on a Monday instead of the usual response of “nothing much” when asked by your colleagues what you did this weekend, you have a story to tell and feel you have spent your weekend doing something worthwhile!

That’s not to say that you have to travel an hour to enjoy a nice walk, I will wager that if you were to have a look at your local area there is at least one nice walk which you could do within 20 minutes of your house. The National Trust have a fantastic and easy to use map which shows their recommendations for walks all over the country, simply use the map to scroll in to your local area and click on the bubble. The National Trust even have pages dedicated to walks in London, if you can find a place to walk in London one of the biggest cities in the world, then surely you can find one anywhere. Failing that, download the Ordnance Survey app onto your smart phone (Apple Store and Google Play), from this app you can pay a small fee for the maps which cover your local area. From this you can see the public footpaths which are around you, you can’t even get lost as the app uses your phones GPS to show you exactly where you are on the map!

As well as being great fun and therapeutic, it seems as though walking is one of the last bastions of social interaction which is not interrupted by checking Facebook on a mobile phone; you try checking Facebook whilst walking and you will likely end up embarrassingly liking the wrong status and walking into a lamppost! When you are walking you have the time to have a chat and catch up with friends, partners and family…living in the countryside I even say hello to most strangers who walk past (how odd to interact with someone you don’t know when it’s not on social media!!). You also learn a great deal about your local area by walking, too often we don’t properly explore where we live, you can easily drive past fantastic local landmarks without even realising…that’s harder to do when walking because you are soaking in your surroundings rather than flying past them.

It’s also a great activity to do as a family, in times where family finances are under pressure, what better than an activity which you can do for free which the kids will love? There are even treasure trail maps available which you can buy cheaply, these direct you to local landmarks and give you clues which may be adding up some numbers on a landmark to give you the next destination….great fun for kids!

As you can see, walking doesn’t have to be a chore and I hope I have given you some ideas to go and try it, I think you will love it!

If you would like some more tips on how to incorporate the 20 minutes’ walking a day you can find some more here.
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