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Walking Benefits…Don’t Let Work Get in the Way

We all experience pressures on our time, including at work, and it is easy to let this get in the way of our health and wellbeing. In a recent Westfield Health survey, it was revealed that 55% of UK workers eat lunch at their desks and half of us only get up from our desks to go to the toilet during the whole working day. Westfield Health explores the benefits of walking and provides some tips for fitting a little more motion into your working day…


The physical benefits of walking are clear:

add years to you rlife1. You can reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes by walking regularly. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The Stroke Association says that a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27 percent.

​2. A brisk walk helps to boost your circulation and increase oxygen supply to all your cells, giving you great benefits such as more energy and even healthier looking skin.

3. Walking even boosts your immune system for 24 hours - who knew?

4. Physically active employees also take 27% less sick days than non-active employees, leaving them healthier the whole year round.

5. Walking is also great for getting some more Vitamin D. Many people in the UK are vitamin D deficient which is essential for important things such as bone health.

Walking has plenty of mental health benefits as well:

treat depresssion1. Being active promotes mental health and wellbeing. It improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.

2. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed.

3. Physical activity stimulates the release of body chemicals called endorphins, which act as natural painkillers, reduce stress and produce feelings of wellbeing.

4. Walking improves cerebral blood flow and lowers the risk of vascular disease, which may be linked to helping you stave off dementia.

5. Scientists at Essex University found that our wellbeing is boosted significantly with as little as 5 minutes of outdoor exercise.

Westfield Health offers these top tips to help you fit in those extra steps during your working day:

parkfurtheraway1. Take the stairs: One of the easiest ways to add walking into your day is to avoid the lift and take the stairs. Did you know that you burn 3.5 calories per floor? Just another little reason to climb the stairs.

2. Send fewer emails: It’s easy to fire off emails when you’re in a rush, but why not try walking over to your colleagues’ desks instead? Take the time to ask them a question face to face and add in those precious few extra minutes walking as well. Bonus points if they work on another floor and you have to take the stairs to get there.

3. Take a phone call on foot: Next time you answer the phone, why not try making it a walk and talk?! Walking has even been proved to help creative thinking - researchers at Standford University have found that our creative output increases by an average of 60% when walking. So you can come up with some creative suggestions for those tricky questions.

4. Park further away: Add a short walk to your day by avoiding those front row spaces and parking towards the back of the car park. If you get public transport - try hopping of the bus one stop early.

5. Use the furthest away bathroom: For some of us a toilet break is the only chance we get to move away from our desk. But this toilet break provides an opportunity to get some more steps in; make the most of it by trying to use the bathroom furthest away from your desk - or even on another floor.


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The length of our walking guides is given in miles and rounded to the nearest full mile (whole number) for simplicity. For short walks (of less than 2 miles) or walks that have a length that ends in .5, a more accurate walk length may be given in the first section of the walk introduction. For example, the Length in the header may be listed as 6 miles, and the introduction may confirm that the exact length of the walk is 5.5 miles. The walk length is calculated from the GPS file that was created by the walk author GPS tracking the walk whilst walking, using the iFootpath App GPS Tracker, meaning it is very accurate. Our bespoke tracker is particularly detailed and plots a walkers position about every 10 seconds. The tracker is calibrated to match two other reputable map and walking sources, Ordnance Survey and Nike. As with all standardised walk and map lengths, the distance does not take account of hills and slopes, just the distance you would measure using a piece of string on a flat map version of the terrain, so hilly walks will feel longer than stated. If you track the route using another GPS App or Tracker App or Fitness Device, you can expect the distance you record to be different due to different calibrations. This is particularly true of those Apps and devices that count your motion and steps – these can only guess the distance you have travelled with each step and so are much less accurate.

Grade (Boots)

The grade of a walk is an indicator of how difficult the terrain is that you will encounter along the way. This does not take into account the walk length but does suggest how challenging the walk will be. It takes into account things like hills, path surfaces and obstacles (like stiles, gates, steps and rock scrambles). An easy walk, graded as 1 (and shown as 1 Boot) indicates a walk that is essentially flat, has no sharp hills to climb, has no stiles, is easy to navigate (probably along a well-worn path) and is suitable for most levels of fitness. A difficult walk, graded as 5 (and represented by 5 Boots) indicates a walk that is strenuous and involves steep ascents and/or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles that require scrambling with your hands. Please note that the grading for walks is subjective and open to interpretation and should only be used as a guide when selecting a walk.

NOTE: Do be aware that the level of stamina required for any walk will vary depending on both the walk length and the difficulty grade - you should only walk within your limits.

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