Why walking?

Walking to work, campus or school – or wherever else you are going locally, is one of the best ways of getting fresh air, lifting your mood, saving money, burning calories, strengthening your bones and it is good for the environment. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and does not require any special equipment or training.

Benefits for walking to work or campus

Walking to work or campus comes with a host of great benefits, and not just for the environment. Your body, mind and bank balance can all benefit too, so why not make this simple change and see what a difference it can make? Here are just a few benefits you can expect to see:

  • Better physical fitness;
  • More time to yourself;
  • Increased mental wellbeing;
  • Lower stress levels;
  • Time to organise your mind;
  • Save money;
  • Opportunity to increase your social engagement and
  • Improved ability to function better at work and home.

Health benefits of walking

You carry your own body weight when you walk. This is known as weight-bearing exercise. Some of the health benefits you may experience include:

  • Increased cardio-respiratory fitness;
  • Reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke;
  • Lower risk of certain types of cancers;
  • Improved management of conditions such as high blood pressure, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and type 2 diabetes;
  • Improvement in balance and reduced risk of falls;
  • Increased muscular fitness and stronger bone density;
  • Reduced risk of depression;
  • Improved sleep quality and
  • Reduced body fat.

Walking to meet the National Physical Activity Guidelines

It is important to remember that some form of physical activity is better than none, more is better than some, and any amount of physical activity you do can result in greater health benefits.

The National Guidelines on Physical Activity for Ireland recommend that adults, aged 18-64, should aim to be physically active for ‘at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity on 5 days a week (or 150 minutes a week)’. Moderate activity is activity that causes you to be warm or slightly sweating while remaining comfortable, increases your breathing and heart rate, while still being able to hold a conversation.

For more information on the National Physical Activity Guidelines of Ireland, including guidelines for adults with a disability, please visit HSE – Physical Activity Guidelines.

Mind your local environment

While you are out walking, whether it is enjoying the great outdoors or walking on the commute, always ensure to dispose of rubbish properly and ‘Leave No Trace’. This means having as minimal an impact as possible on the environment and its natural processes. At the heart of Leave No Trace are seven principles based on an abiding respect for nature, culture, and people. To find out more, please visit Leave No Trace.