09:05am Friday 20 October 2017

Boost your health with a walk to work

Boost your health with a walk to work

More than 80% of us travel to work by car. This week (11-17 May) is Walk to Work Week so the Public Health Agency (PHA) is encouraging everyone to leave the car at home to boost your health.

Being more physically active and reaching the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended target of a minimum 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week can help you manage your weight, reduce your risk of developing a range of chronic conditions including some cancers, Type 2 diabetes, as well as reduce anxiety and stress.

Colette Brolly, the PHA Lead on Physical Activity, said: “150 minutes may sound like a lot but break that down to smaller chunks of 30 minutes per day at least five days a week and it’s an achievable goal. There’s no better way to get going than doing something simple like walking to work.

“It can be all too easy to slip into a routine of jumping in the car and taking the short journey to work, when you may be able to walk it. If you take public transport, you could take the bus but just hop off a few stops early and walk the rest of the way to work. Building these small things in to your daily routine means you can get more active and boost your health. 

“Spread the word about Walk to Work Week in your office and you might find that others are interested too. Walking in a group is a great way to stay motivated, so ask if any of your colleagues live near you and walk to work together.

“Plus it’s a great chance to blow away the cobwebs from a sleepy morning and walking home again is a great way of de-stressing if you’ve had a tough day. Not only will it benefit your health, it’ll also benefit your pocket, saving you money on bus fares, petrol for your car and parking fees.”

Just over half of us (53%) meet the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations on physical activity.

Being active for 30 minutes on at least five days is a good approach and you can break that down further into 10-minute bouts of moderate activity that will fit in well with a busy working schedule.

Moderate activity can include a brisk walk or riding a bike and any activity is better than none.

A range of helpful tips on getting active can be found on the Public Health Agency websites www.getalifegetactive.com and www.choosetolivebetter.com

Notes to the editor

  • The Department for Regional Developmnent Travel Survey for Northern Ireland 2011-2013 (published in December 2014 – http://www.drdni.gov.uk/northern_ireland_travel_survey.htm) shows that 83% of journeys to work were taken by car while only 8% walked to work. 
  • May is National Walking Month and as part of that Walk to Work Week runs from 11-17 May.
  • Walk to School Week takes place in the following week, 18-22 May.
  • The Northern Ireland Health Survey 2013-14 shows that 61% of adults are overweight (37%) or obese (24%)
  • 67% of males and 56% of females are overweight or obese
  • 53% met the CMO’s recommendations on physical activity – 60% males and 47% females.
  • 28% were inactive

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