16 Jun 2017 National Walking Month 2017 – advocating everyday walking
Living Streets is the charity for everyday walking and every May we celebrate National Walking Month. What sets us apart from other walking charities who encourage exploring our beautiful country by foot on long walking holidays, Living Streets advocates little steps which lead to big change. Changes such as swapping the school run for a school walk, jumping off the bus early and beating the traffic or simply just choosing to walk rather than drive to the shops.
During NWM we asked people to rate their daily walks so that we can build a picture of how our towns and cities are designed and we can find out what the barriers are to people not walking. We asked if people feel safe walking to work or school, is it enjoyable and is it accessible to people of all ages and capabilities? In the last generation we’ve effectively engineered walking out of our lives, 20 years ago 70 per cent of us walked to school, now it’s less than half. With the increased popularity of driving from the early 20th Century, towns have been increasingly designed around cars, not people. But why is that a problem?
Air quality, road safety, social inclusion and our physical and mental health are all at stake the less time we spend exercising and being outdoors. The Chief Medical Officer recommends children exercise for 60 minutes per day yet one in three children are leaving primary school obese or overweight and the results are not much better for grown ups.
Living Streets is tackling these issues by making walking the natural choice. We believe that a walking nation means progress for everyone and streets fit for walking are far more pleasant to be in than streets catered to cars. With WOW the year-round walk to school challenge we’re helping children around the country build life-long healthy habits by walking to school at least once per week. Children who walk to school are already well on their way to getting their 60 minutes of daily exercise and they arrive fit, refreshed and ready to learn. Schools taking part in WOW see a 23 per cent increase in walking in just five weeks with a corresponding 30 per cent fewer cars at the school gates.
During National Walking Month we dedicate a week to walking to school. Schools who aren’t yet part of WOW are invited to test out walking to school every day for one week. This year over 10,000 classrooms took part and many of those schools, after seeing the results for themselves, will go on to join 600,000 other children in taking part in WOW.
Walking is accessible, it’s free, it’s fun and it goes a long way to tackling the issues we face in our society. It doesn’t take much to incorporate walking into your every day life yet the benefits can last a lifetime.
To find out more about the charity, Follow this link