Walking “good for our minds, bodies and neighbourhoods”

08.13 | 14 April 2023 |

Image: Living Streets

National Walking Month returns this May, encouraging Brits to #Try20 and walk for 20 minutes every day throughout the month.

The annual campaign, organised by Living Streets, aims to highlight the ‘huge social, mental and physical benefits’ that are associated with walking, along with the positive impact on air pollution.

It also sets out to raise awareness of the benefits of walking for those facing loneliness and social isolation.

The latest research by the Office of National Statistics states that around one in 20 (6%) of UK adults feels lonely always or often. 

But data captured by Living Streets has found that more than half (68%) of older adults feel more connected with their community after taking up regular walking, and nearly three quarters (70%) feel less lonely or isolated.

Stephen Edwards, chief executive at Living Streets, said: “Walking is good for our minds, bodies and neighbourhoods. Turning off our engines and turning to walking for short journeys will help reduce congestion, road danger and air pollution – while saving yourself some money in the process. 

“Even a short, brisk walk can have wonderful mental and physical health benefits that we shouldn’t take for granted.

“As well as the physical benefits, walking reduces the feelings of loneliness and isolation – as it promotes socialisation and boosts serotonin levels linked with feeling happier and less anxious. That’s why we are encouraging everyone to adopt a healthy habit this May and walk for 20 minutes a day for National Walking Month.”

The charity works closely with local communities, authorities and partners all year round, to create streets which are safe and welcoming for all ages.

It says people find the biggest barriers to walking to be bad weather (50%) and concerns about not feeling safe walking alone (19%). Other reasons for not walking include not having time (16%), concerns about e-scooters (11%), air pollution (11%) and traffic (10%)

National Walking Month is also home to Walk to School Week (15-19 May) – a national incentive to encourage children to walk to school and increase the amount of weekly exercise they do. Children are encouraged to exercise for at least 60 minutes a day, and walking to and from school can significantly help them reach this target.



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