10 reasons why you should walk to and from work
20 June 2014 -
With summer in swing, a healthy-living expert has reminded bosses that pacing to the workplace can help alleviate stress and boost staff energies
Managers should encourage staff to walk to work as much as possible, as the activity can improve employee health and productivity, according to healthy-living entrepreneur Sarah Liveing. As founder of Walking Works – a campaign to get more people to take up walking – Liveing has released a list of 10 reasons why walking to work can enhance people’s lives, as the issue of finding ways to promote healthier lifestyles for staff and reduce illness-related absence remains a priority for managers.
A study released this week by manufacturers’ organisation EEF showed that while short-term absence in the workplace is at a record low, figures for long-term sickness have seen a significant surge. Findings gathered from 335 manufacturing firms showed that overall absences fell to their lowest-ever level of 2.1%, equal to 4.9 days off work for each member of staff annually. But the rate of extended leave has increased substantially, according to almost 40% of the firms that took part.
Furthermore, workplace illness has been more complex in the past decade, as traditional industrial ailments – such as back and knee pain – have been surpassed by less-visible problems such as stress and mental disorders.
A separate survey from PMI Health Group found that employees are intentionally working while ill to forestall any negative impacts that absence may have on their jobs. According to responses from 600 UK employees, six out of 10 women and almost half (48%) of men return to work early from sickness or injury, because they are worried that being away could affect perceptions of their commitment and harm career development.
With all this in mind, Liveing – who claims to have used walking as a method to lose weight – says that workers should walk to and from the office because:
1. Your internal organs and their functionality are really important
If you sit for a prolonged period of time you can become more at risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol. Walking can help counteract this, as your body temperature increases and your blood flows around the body, providing a regular supply of oxygen that can help to keep those potential problems at bay.
2. You won’t feel lethargic
Early morning starts can be a struggle, but walking to work awakens the mind, leaving you feeling energised, alert and ready for the day ahead.
3. You will feel more relaxed at the end of the day
While you may find it difficult to unwind from a stressful day of work, walking acts as an after-work “cool down”, and your night’s sleep can be less interrupted and more relaxed.
4. Concentration levels will dramatically improve
Your mind won’t be left wandering as you feel more alert and prepared for the day ahead. A walk to work is a great planner in terms of your outlook for the working day, and you can give your work the full attention it needs.
5. It is not too strenuous on your body
Being a low-impact exercise, walking is an ideal commute. It is really important not to overwork the body, as you can become highly fatigued and concentration in the day ahead diminishes. Walking, however, means you won’t be too dishevelled when you reach your workplace.
6. You will have a sense of accomplishment
The achievement that comes from regular walking to work is a real boost of confidence. Keep it as part of your routine, and you will certainly reap the rewards in the long run.
7. Walking is a great way to reduce stress
Walking helps you de-stress from your hectic everyday life. Take time to switch off from work and see the beauty in the small things around you like birds tweeting, traffic noises, flowers planted along your route, trees, architecture. Appreciate what’s around you.
8. Walking is free travel
If you make it a regular habit, collect all the money you’ve saved from paid travel and treat yourself to something special like a facial, massage or theatre tickets.
9. Avoid road closures, accidents and diversions
No need to worry about traffic delays when walking to work – just make sure you are prepared. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and consume regular fluids to prevent dehydration in warmer weather. That’s one less thing to think about when getting to work: you’ll never again be late from transport-related holdups.
10. Top up your muscle tone
Walking to work regularly will stretch your legs, arms, bum and tum and essentially will improve your strength, balance and posture. Walking is also suitable for any age, shape and fitness level.
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