We have all heard the song ‘Walking back to Happiness’, but it seems this may actually be the case. To mark Walk to Work Week, which started yesterday, a new survey conducted by YouGov for national charity Living Streets has found that walkers are amongst the happiest commuters.British adults who commute to work were asked to rate how happy their journey makes them feel. With the National Travel Survey 2011 finding that the average length of the commute is 8.9 miles, the charity asked commuters who usually travel 10 miles or less to take their happy poll. A whopping 88% of these who usually walk most of the way to work said that the way they commute makes them happy. These walkers polled top against all other forms of transport, including travelling by car and train.
Walking takes you places
With yesterday being the first day of Walk to Work Week, individuals and workplaces up and down the country are stepping up to the challenge, raising money for charity and logging their collective miles. Participants are really getting behind the week, taking part in the Living Streets’ ‘walking feats’, getting into the competitive spirit and finding creative ways of building walking into the working day. With participants signing up all the time, it’s not too late to get involved. Walk to Work Week isn’t just about getting from home to the workplace; it’s about making walking part of your day. This could involve arranging a walking meeting, a lunchtime stroll or travelling part of the way to work by foot.
‘Quicker than public transport’
One advocate of Walk to Work Week is writer Kellie Hillier. Kellie walks a six-mile round trip to work five days a week. She says, “I relish my walk to work, it gives me time to think and plan my day ahead. I used to get the bus, but one day all the buses I tried to get on were overcrowded so I decided to walk into work. I was amazed how much calmer and happier I felt when I got there, it was a lovely walk. She continues, “Some days it’s even quicker than public transport, and I have definitely felt the benefits, both on my waistline and my wallet.”
Kellie is not alone in reaping the benefits of walking to work. During Walk to Work Week 2012 workers clocked up over 71,255 miles and logged 25,336 walks on the Living Streets website. Walk to Work Week 2013 has seen sign up exceed last year, with 400 workplaces registering so far and the numbers growing daily.
Walking boosts health and productivity
Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive of Living Streets, said “It’s fantastic news that walkers are amongst the happiest of commuters, with 88% of those walkers who commute ten miles or less rating top of the happy poll. Here at Living Streets, we help employers improve the health and productivity of their workforce by helping them create travel plans and encourage their staff to get more active. Walking can help to reduce stress, aid motivation and improve the general health and wellbeing of employees. Walk to Work Week is a brilliant opportunity to participate in the ‘walking feats’ on our website and to give walking a go this May.”
Incorporating just half an hour of walking each day can make all the difference to your health, helping you to feel fitter and clear your head. As these findings show, walking really does make you happy, so why not join the happy walkers, step up to the challenge and give walking a whirl this Walk to Work Week?