Walking – The Magic Solution

We’ve handed the blog over to Sarah at Urban Studies and Planning today! Sarah talks to us about the wonderful world of walking! Sarah recently told  us that her daily 4.5 mile walk to work is the best part of her day, and after reading this you’ll realise why! If you or your team would like to contribute to the blog, get in touch at greenimpact@sheffield.ac.uk.


It’s the time of year for change and resolutions, whether this be to improve your fitness, save money, be more adventurous or even reduce your carbon footprint. But what if there was just one thing that could help you achieve all this?

The magic solution is walking! Walking is great for so many reasons, but here are just 8 of the best:


1, Physical Health benefits

Many of you might think that walking is not exercise, but you may be surprised to know – the average person burns about 100 calories per mile, and the risk of obesity goes down 5% for every km walked daily!


There is also the benefits of: increasing muscle/bone strength, improving your cardiovascular fitness, enhancing your circulation and raising your immunity. Making walking a great starting point to getting fit –  so forget expensive and unused gym memberships, and start stepping your way to better health!


  1. Mental Health Benefits

It is fairly well known that exercise generally increases your mental health as it releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria which can improve self-esteem, boost your mood and increase sleep quality.


But walking, and walking in Sheffield specifically can take this one step further (pardon the pun), it has been found that exposure to nature can help improve and prevent mental illness, and if there’s one thing Sheffield has lots of, it’s green spaces! A good walk can do wonders for your mental wellbeing!


  1. Finding new places

We are so used to driving our regular routes around the city to get from A to B the quickest, but what about all the places in between?


It is often the most unassuming places that are home to the unusual bookshops or the authentic restaurants or the specialist bakeries. These places offer the quirks that you don’t find in the big chains and are often local businesses that help contribute towards the community by selling local produce or goods.


So why not ditch your regular starbucks catch up with friends and try exploring the side streets by foot to find somewhere just right, here are a few recommendations to get you starting exploring.


  1. Money saving

They may sneak bus fares up 10p at a time, but my pocket definitely noticed it! Prices for a Single journey on a First bus is now £2.20, but that’s still cheaper than parking in most parts of the city and that’s ignoring the petrol prices!


Even if you were to cycle, you have the start up basic costs of: a bike, clothing and a helmet, making walking undoubtedly the cheapest alternative!


So why not save the pennies (pounds) for something else and walk there?


  1. Carbon footprint

Actually if you do it for nothing else, you can do it for the environment – walking replaces short polluting car trips, reduces congestion and improves the local air quality!


1 person swapping 5 small (under 2 km) car journeys for 20 minute walks would reduce their carbon footprint by 86kg a year (Potter 2004).


So help the earth out, and leave the car at home!


  1. Social/ community

‘The true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking,’ said Mark Twain.


As well as boosting your own social life – walking, also promotes  routine contact with others in your neighbourhood, improving our sense of community and helping tackle crime and the fear of crime.


  1. Time

If your journey to work or University is anything like mine, you have to weigh up: defrosting the car, icy roads and traffic, with: the infrequency of the bus, the chance it will be late, or the most likely outcome that it won’t turn up. And after all this, you might as well have just walked (and then you get to skip the gym later)!


  1. Inclusive

The daunting phrase ‘Physical Exercise’ makes many of us think of going on a run, or to the gym or worst of all spinning!


These forms of exercise work for some people, but there are those of us out there who simply don’t enjoy the atmosphere of the gym, the pressure of a spin class or the publicness of a run, and this is where walking can save the day. Statistically speaking, walking is the most likely way all adults can achieve their recommended levels of physical activity (according to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence).


But why walking?

Walking is great for all the reasons listed above, but also because: it can be done almost anywhere,  is affordable and is inclusive. Therefore as long as we are able to walk, is something all of us can incorporate into our lives.


If you don’t have the luxury of spare hours to roam the peak district, try walking a few extra bus stops to/from work, using the stairs instead of the lift or doing the occasional walk at lunch for some fresh air and reap the benefits.

Here's some other posts you might want to read!

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