Background 
 
May is Living Streets’ National walking month. A once-a-year celebration of walking which only takes 20 minutes a day for the month, to help mitigate preventable health conditions. So why not be involved? Step out the house, put on your comfortable shoes and get active. Enjoy the beautiful sunshine whilst also gaining your vitamin D, improving your bones, immune system, and health. 
 
Health and wellbeing 
 
We all need to care about our health and wellbeing. A brisk walk everyday is only going to do you good! Easy and accessible, yet the benefits last a lifetime. Do you know the recommended amount of exercise you should be doing per week? 150 minutes! So, by completing this challenge you're contributing to your recommended amount and building stamina which will significantly improve your physical health, preventing conditions such as: cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Having said this, research has shown physical activity does not only make a greater impact on your physical being it also helps your mental health. It makes you feel good by boosting your self-esteem, sleeping well, looking, and feeling good. This is from the chemicals which come from being active which are released in your brain cells. Here's a fact you may not have known: a simple 20 minute walk a day burns 7lbs body fat yearly. 
Support and tips 
So, you may be thinking, how do I get my head around this and get into the gear of walking. well, with the right motivation and mindset anything is possible! First and foremost, comfortability is important, you must make sure you have the right footwear to get you started. You may have your regular everyday shoes, or you need to break into some new shoes. Footwear is imperative when going for a walk and makes the experience much more enjoyable. We're all used to that post walk foot odour which can significantly deminish that enjoyment factor of the walk. What if that problem didn't have to exist? 
 
With Micro-Fresh® technology, shoes stay fresher for longer, meaning no more shoe spray and no more damaging washes. Once you have the right shoes, you are all set to go. Next step would be looking into routes, there are several routes and support available in your local area to make the walking journey fun and easier. Many fun routes in the midlands, east midlands, north, Northern Ireland, southeast/west and Wales which can be found on the national trust website. 
 
Are you a person who enjoys a casual stroll or who likes to be adventurous along the way? If so, why not pick up your phone and take some scenery pictures, snack along the way, and keep yourself hydrated! Sometimes it is just nice to appreciate the nature you see and let that guide you. With saying this, it is the simple things you can do for example, walking to and from work, going to shops, having a stroll whilst listening to music. We all need to give ourselves a break and having walks is the best way to make yourself and your mind feel at ease. 
 
 
Protecting the Environment 
 
As we know walking is good for physical and mental health, we also cannot forget about the greater impact we would be making on the planet’s health. The first step would be by swapping a short drive for a short walk, simple things like this have a knock-on effect to the environment: reducing air pollution, congestion, and helping biodiversity, which is acting towards being more sustainable. 
 
Why not try the monthly or beyond challenge, power through the walk to the designated finish line you have in mind. 
 
Author: Sonia Popat, Digital Marketer 
 
References: 
1. Source: Camping in the forest. 5 of the best walks for National Walking Month. 
2. Source: Country hotel breaks. National Walking Month- Put your best foot forward. 
3. Source: Halifax opportunities trust. National Walking Month 2022. 
4. Source: Living Streets. Our #TRY20 Tips 
5. Source: Living Streets. Get Involved 
6. Source: National trust. Our top spring nature walks 
7. Source: NHS. National Walking Month. 
8. Source: Wellbeing Info. National Walking Month. 
 
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