Walkers in the park

The benefits of a lunchtime walk

23 May 2016

Tanya Braun, from charity Living Streets, tells us about the benefits of the lunchtime stroll.

 

A walking society is a healthy one. If more of us walk, our streets will be less congested and polluted. Walking also helps us become healthier and happier, and can bring communities together, beating feelings of isolation.

Every May we run National Walking Month to promote the benefits of the simple act of walking. This year, we’re asking everyone to #Try20 - that’s walk for at least 20 minutes each day throughout May.

The benefits of walking

There are many benefits. Some of the most talked about are those that affect our health. From helping us to maintain a healthy weight, to lowering the risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression, to helping us feel less stressed. Then there are the benefits to our environment: less pollution, less congestion on roads, nicer places to live, work and shop in.

But walking can also give us some much needed time to think. It's a way to experience new places and to get closer to nature and our surroundings.

How we fit walking into our working week

Near our offices in Tower Hamlets we always try to explore the local area on foot – there are fun and inventive ways of doing this. Not only do we get to try new places for lunch, we make sure we walk for at least 10 minutes away from the office and back – ensuring that we get 20 minutes of walking in. Easy!

Once you start exploring a local area on foot, what you discover can be really rewarding. We’re a ten minute walk from Spitalfields. Christ Church has a great café and is right on Fournier Street – an 18th century residential road which used to house French Huguenots. Dennis Severs House is a great stop on Folgate Street and takes you right back to the time when silk-weavers lived in the area. Behind is Brick Lane where you can find multi-coloured bagels, film shoots and lavish chocolates. Jack the Ripper tours run through this area, stopping at the many pubs and spots of interest. Underground speakeasies are dotted throughout, off of Petticoat Lane and Worship Street, and if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle you can visit Spitalfields City Farm. Many of these things I wouldn’t have experienced had I not gone for a walk at lunchtime or taken a slightly different route back to Liverpool Street Station (I live in the wilds of Essex, so too far to walk the whole way home).

#Try20

London is a great place to walk to explore and, in fact, it’s where most of us walk for at least a part of our commute. This is what makes it such a great place to #Try20 – it’s easy to skip a stop on public transport and add a few extra minutes of walking into your day. However, we could be doing more. So why don’t you pledge to #Try20 this May and see how small steps can make a big difference to your health and your wallet.

Go to our website for more hints and tips on how to fit 20 minutes’ walking into your day in a fun way.