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"At UHP we walk: We prefer walking"

Walking, jaunting, and strolling can sometimes feel too slow for the fast-paced world we live in. It is true that it is much easier to drive to the local shop for eggs than it is to walk, but in doing so we miss out on the benefits of fresh air and the activation of our sensory systems. As neuroscientist Shane O’Mara says ‘there are all sorts of rhythms happening in the brain as a result of [walking], and they’re absent when you’re sitting. One of the great overlooked superpowers we have is that, when we get up and walk, our senses are sharpened. Rhythms that would previously be quiet suddenly come to life’.

Walking feels gentle in comparison to vigorous exercise in the gym, leading to the misconception that it doesn’t ‘count’. But O’Mara asserts that walking is a valuable form of exercise and that maximum health benefits can be achieved without expensive workout gear, a bank account draining gym membership or a complicated warm up and cool down routine. He recommends that, to see the benefits, “speed should be consistently high over a reasonable distance – say consistently over 5km/h, sustained for at least 30 minutes, at least four or five times a week.”

If you’re struggling to commit to your intensive New Year exercise routine, it might be worth taking up walking instead. Why not pledge to park at the George Park and Ride and walk down to the hospital? Embrace your inner Anne Elliot and repeat after us: ‘“I walk: I prefer walking”’.

According to plotaroute.com, walking from the hospital to the park and ride would take 19 minutes and would total 2710 steps if you kept up a brisk pace. Making the journey to and from the park and ride easily ticks off the suggested 30 minutes of exercise a day and will help to reduce the air pollution around the hospital. Air pollution from cars can be harmful, particularly to those of us with respiratory diseases who may be receiving treatment at UHP- more information on the damaging affects of car pollution can be found in our blog post titled ‘What Lower Carbon Travel Options are There?’. This February, Choosing Greener has a focus on active travel- earn 20 green points for every mile you travel actively each week! Report your new walking routine on the app and climb the leaderboard to win prizes.

In the meantime, get inspired by the overlooked power of walking with this reading list:

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