You’ve heard about the amazing health benefits of walking every day haven’t you? They truly are mind blowing.
But, but, but … 10,000 steps a day!! Really!!
Is that remotely possible with our crazy busy lives we’re struggling to hold together?
Well, yes it is, but MORE importantly we do NOT have to walk 10,000 steps a day to enjoy the massive benefits of walking.
A 10 minute walk – 1,000 steps – lowers blood sugar levels in diabetes patients. A 20 minute nature walk – 2,000 steps – can improve the concentration level of ADHD kids as much as medication. A 30 minute daily walk – 3,000 steps – reduces heart disease risk by 20%.
Wow!!! Seriously, wow!!!
So, if you want your whole family to enjoy the phenomenal benefits of walking forget about all those 10,000 step challenges.
And focus instead on this simple, sustainable alternative with big impact : walk the mile.
It can transform our family’s health AND save the planet by slashing our carbon footprint. AND it sets our kids up for life because kids who walk daily become adults who walk daily.
Again, seriously wow!!
But how does walk the mile work? It’s brilliantly simple I promise you. We can all do it.
1. Walk The Mile
You see it’s like this; in London – where I live – 1 in 3 car journeys are roughly a mile or less.
It’s pretty much the same in cities worldwide.
In the last 50 years we all got into this crazy habit of hopping in cars for super short journeys. It’s had crazy results causing :
- Huge rises in obesity & chronic conditions
- Dangerous urban pollution levels
- Missed development milestones in kids
- Major mental health issues because we rush around so fast our brains can’t keep up
- Community breakdown because we simply don’t bump into our neighbours
All pretty depressing, heh?
BUT these nasties are easy to change instantly by sticking to the simple rule : walk the mile.
Just imagine, if we ALL pledged from tomorrow, to ditch the car for short journeys and walk the mile we could cut car pollution in cities like London by 30% over night!!!
That would have a major impact on the carbon footprint of our cities and towns.
AND would deliver to our families all these amazing health benefits of walking.
2. Walking Benefits
- Gross motor development : walking outdoors every day develops essential gross motor skills in under fives.
- Classroom concentration : children who walk to school concentrate better for the first four hours of the day compared with those that drive.
- Activity levels : children who walk are more active when they arrive at their destination and so continue to enjoy the benefits of increased activity levels even after the walk is over.
- Self esteem : just 5 to 10 minutes activity, including walking, in a green space improves self esteem.
- Mood : and again just 5 to 10 minutes walking in a natural environment improves mood.
- Creative thinking : walking outside increases creativity levels by over 80%.
- ADHD : a 20 minute walk in the park improves concentration levels in ADHD kids as much as medication.
- Community connection : children who walk daily feel more connected to their community which significantly improves mental health in adolescence.
- Chronic stress : a 20 minute walk reduces cortisol levels and chronic stress in adolescents.
- Back pain : walking one to two miles, two to three times a week is as good as specialist exercises for lower back pain.
- Depression : walking just one mile daily protects against depression in all ages and eases depression in those suffering.
- Anxiety : a 10 minute walk can relieve anxiety as much as a 45 minute workout and the benefits kick in after 5 minutes.
- Blood pressure : a 30 minute walk in the morning can lower blood pressure as much as medication.
- Diabetes : a 10 minute walk after each meal significantly reduces blood glucose levels, especially in the evening.
- Cholesterol : walking one to two miles a day cuts bad cholesterol levels by 20%.
- Weight loss : walking a mile every day burns 700 calories a week.
- Breast cancer : walking 2 to 3 miles a day reduces breast cancer risk.
- Colon cancer : walking for 20 minutes – a mile or so – daily reduces risk of colon cancer by up to 50%.
- Heart disease : walking half an hour daily cuts heart disease risk by 20%.
- Respiratory disease : walking 2 to 3 miles a day reduces hospital admissions in COPD patients.
- Eyesight : walking three times a week lowers intraocular pressure and cuts the risk of glaucoma by 25%.
- Protects muscles : hamstrings and glutes are shortened from prolonged sitting, walking daily prevents this.
- Arthritis : walking 10 to 40 minutes a days, most days eases joint pain in arthritis patients.
- Stroke risk : walking to work most days cuts risk of death from stroke by 30%.
- Alzheimers : walking one mile a day slows the progress of Alzheimers.
That’s a pretty mind blowing list isn’t it? And brilliantly, the benefits of walking are lifelong.
They kick in early in child development and behaviour, then protect teenagers at their most vulnerable, prevent a whole raft of chronic conditions and cancers in middle age and keep us healthy and mobile as we get older.
And walking can do all of this WITHOUT us obsessing about pedometers and 10,000 steps a day walking challenges.
We just need to walk the mile.
We just need to scurry to school and work. And dawdle home. And nip to the shops. And drop in on friends. And stroll in the park.
Those 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there and 20 minutes later, they ALL add up and transform our health because as a very wise bloke said a long time ago:
Walking is man’s best medicine.
And NOW walking is an incredibly powerful medicine for curing the planet. Walking the mile, is probably the easiest, quickest way, we can all cut our carbon footprint.
3. Reduce Carbon Footprint
Us townies and city dwellers could literally cut our family’s carbon footprint by 30% overnight, if we ALL pledged now to walk all those journeys of roughly a mile or less.
We don’t have to wait for new technology or law makers or complicated permit schemes.
We all have the power in our hands – or feet : ) – right here, right now to change the world.
What are we waiting for? Let’s walk the mile …
I truly hope this inspires you and your family to take the pledge and get walking. Please do share the message with friends.
And for more simple, powerful ways to help the planet, read these: