We’re still in the throes of winter here in the UK but we’re looking ahead to the spring and summer, to the better weather, lighter days and happier times. The beginning of the year is always a time for taking stock and making positive changes.
For many of us, our thoughts immediately turn to our health – getting fitter, losing those extra few pounds gained over Christmas, feeling better. There’s a reason why your social media feeds are full of gym membership offers and exercise routines!
But perhaps this year, when for many money is tight, there are some small changes we could make? What about walking to work?
How do you walk to work?
Here at Futliit, we love a good walk and I often walk early in the morning before work. I’m lucky in that I work from home so have a good hour after everyone has left the house before the working day begins (not so much walking to work as walking before work!).
I’ve been ‘walking to work’ for a few years now, and when I can’t walk, I really miss it. It’s often a chance to catch up with my husband if he’s around. In fact, many of our early Futliit meetings happened on our walks!
How can I walk to work? I haven’t got time…
For many people though, if you have to be at work for a set time, it’s not possible to fit in a lengthy walk. But with a bit of ingenuity, you can work in time for a quick walk. If you drive, can you park further away than you would normally, then walk the remainder of the way? Even if you are only walking for 10 mins, that’s 20 minutes of exercise per day that you’ve slotted into your schedule. Plus, in many towns and cities, car parks just outside the city centre tend to be cheaper – win, win!
Can you walk part of the way then take a bus? Or can you get off the bus a couple of stops early and walk the rest of the way to work? Even if you park at the far end of the car park, that’s a few minutes of exercise that you’ve managed to squeeze in. Or is there a park near where you work so that you can have a quick half an hour’s walk round at lunchtime?
What are the benefits of walking to work?
There are so many benefits of walking to work. Over time your fitness will improve – brisk walking will really help your cardio-vascular fitness, benefitting your heart and lungs. Walking to work can certainly help you lose weight and generally get into shape and the healthier you are, the better you will be able to cope with minor illnesses such as colds.
Being outside in the fresh air also increases your energy levels, improve your mood and can make you feel generally more positive. This has a knock-on effect in your work – promotion and payrise anyone?
I’ve found that walking to work gives you a chance to think and organise your day so that you’re firing on all cylinders by the time you arrive. Sometimes the things you are worried about or are not sure how to tackle seem a lot clearer after a walk. It’s also time that is really just for you – listen to some music or an audio book, destress and just be in the moment.
If you can walk to walk rather than using the car or public transport, it can save you a fortune. Say it costs £3 per day on the bus, that’s an extra £15 a week or £60 a month. As my kids would say, that’ll buy you a lot of ice cream!
And finally, walking to work is also really good for the environment. The more people who can walk to work, the fewer car and bus journeys, the less carbon we are producing and the cleaner our air will be. Remember the impact that the lack of traffic had during Covid? We could make that happen in our everyday lives with just this small change.
What do I need to walk to work?
The really good news is that walking to work doesn’t require any special kit! In the British weather, a coat is an essential – ideally waterproof and breathable so you don’t arrive at work a sweaty mess. Luminous or reflective details will ensure you can be seen in the Autumn and Winter months or in low light conditions. Alternatively, you can use one of Futliit's light up backpacks which have 2 bright white LED light strips and reflective panels for that extra layer of visibility.
You also need to think about how to carry your items. If you’re walking any distance you’d do well to use a backpack. If you carry a heavy bag with a single strap over one shoulder you will quickly end up with back or neck problems. Think about whether the backpack has a built-in laptop sleeve, enough space for your lunch and room to hold a water bottle upright.
You’re also going to need a good pair of trainers or walking shoes if your walk to work is any distance. This also means you’ll need space in your backpack for your formal shoes if you haven’t got any storage at work.
How can I stay safe when I walk to work?
Visibility is a key issue for pedestrians walking to work particularly if you’re in a rural area or have a route with narrow pavements or sections that aren’t well lit. As we mentioned above, you need reflective panels as a minimum and ideally lights too (our Futliit backpacks have you covered).
Take a torch, as even if there are streetlights, you might hit a dark unlit stretch or uneven ground. Don’t want you falling over or tripping in a pothole.
Walk to work on the pavement wherever you can and walk in the middle to be more visible. If you have to walk in the road because there isn’t a pavement, walk so that oncoming traffic is coming towards you. Make sure you walk on the outside of bends which might mean you need to cross over in advance. Take extra care if you’ve got to cross the road – don’t forget that if you’re not expecting to see a car coming, the car is probably not expecting to see you!
Walking to work is a really excellent way of getting your exercise in. There are so many benefits not just for you personally but also to the environment that it’s really worth seeing whether you can fit it into your day.
Join us and #BeFutliit!
To find out more about how Futliit can help you be more visible on your way to work, have a look at our LED backpacks.
Other articles you might enjoy: