Why walk?

The economic, environmental and health benefits of walking, and useful links.

There is a lot of it about! Walking accounts for around 25% of all journeys, it is an essential part of most public transport journeys and is good for communities. Streets are safer where there are lots of people walking who can witness crime.

Walking is also good for our health and well-being. Rather than trying to find time to go to the gym, why not get out and walk? It is much better than sitting in an armchair or behind the wheel of a car.

Walking is an excellent way to get about and provides a wide range of health and environmental benefits. Walking is more than a mode of transport – it improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed, and staying active helps those who are depressed recover.

Walking is on the increase in the UK. The British Social Attitudes Survey reported an increasing willingness to walk short journeys of less than two miles, rather than go by car.

Walking to School is also making a big comeback in Oxfordshire. A walking initiative taken up by 18 schools in Oxfordshire so far is showing an increase in active travel rates since 2017 from 65% to 84%!

But there is a lot more to do. An estimated 55% of people aged 16 or over in Oxfordshire are classified as overweight or obese. Data from the National Child Measurement Programme found that there was a similar level of obesity in younger children (aged 4-5 years) in Oxfordshire and a slight increase in obesity in children aged 10-11 (Source: Oxfordshire JSNA 2018).

The NHS recommends 150 minutes of weekly exercise. Walking is a great way of doing this as it is simple, free and really enjoyable. Often overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help people build stamina, burn excess calories and make our hearts healthier. 

Find out more -150 minutes of weekly exercise.

There are also benefits from walking for our mental well-being. Going for a walk improves self-perception and self-esteem, as well as sleep quality and mood. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed. In older people, walking can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

Find out more - https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/get-walking/why-walk/healthy-minds

Why not join a walking organisation? Here are some options

Oxford Pedestrians Association (OxPA) was formed in 1995 in response to concerns that despite policies to reduce traffic in the city, conditions for enjoying streets and outdoor spaces were deteriorating.  OxPA welcomes new members and the subscription is modest. Contact: oxford.pedestrians.association@gmail.com