Button up your coat and get your shoes on, because it’s time to stretch your legs for National Walking Month.
The merry month of May is typically a time to embrace the great outdoors. The weather is warmer and summer is on the way.
Now, there is a national call to action for people to get up and active through May – which has been designated National Walking Month.
The event is organised by the national charity Living Streets and with parks and green spaces aplenty, Hounslow is the perfect place to stride out and take the air.
If getting out and about in Hounslow’s beautiful natural landscape isn’t justification enough, walking can have lots of benefits for your physical and mental health and wellbeing.
It can help you connect with your local community and feel less isolated.
Choosing to walk rather than get in the car for short journeys can help reduce pollution, clean our air and contribute to making our roads safer and less congested.
Walking is also one of the best forms of exercise and it’s free!
Just 20 minutes can help to reduce your risk of several illnesses, including heart disease, depression, Type 2 diabetes and cancers.
Here are some great ideas to get you out and walking during May.
• Step up for the school run – leave the car at home and walk your children or grandchildren into school. It’s a great together-time.
• Walk to the shops – do you need the car when you go out to pick up a few bits? The walk will do you good and you never know who you will meet.
• Go on an adventure – Hounslow has acres of parks, green spaces and woodlands. Chart your own path and get out there amongst the greenery.
• Take the air of an evening – going for a short walk after work could be the perfect way to de-stress. Reconnecting with nature could help you to gather your thoughts.
Do it Better with BetterPoints
Hounslow’s physical activity app BetterPoints is offering you the chance to earn rewards for walking during May.
Users of the BetterPoints app are being offered a range of incentives for National Walking Month and you can earn points simply by stepping out.
• Between May 1 and May 10 users of the app who walk for just 10 minutes a day will be entered into a daily prize draw to win 10, 000 BetterPoints – that’s a tenner!
• Step it up between May 11 and May 20 by walking for 20 minutes and you could earn 20,000 BetterPoints a day.
• Turn your walk into half an hour between May 21 and May 31 and you get entered into the daily draw for 30,000 BetterPoints.
BetterPoints are a digital currency that can be spent in local participating shops, exchanged for shopping vouchers or donated to the charity of your choice.
What are you waiting for? Get over to the BetterPoints website and sign up for the app today.
Every Step counts
Walking is a great free way to keep fit and active.
It’s also fantastic for reconnecting with nature and can work wonders for your mental health and wellbeing.
The health benefits of walking are many. Taking a stroll can reduce your risk of depression, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. It can help to bring down your blood pressure, is good for joint stiffness and can even reduce the risk of some cancers.
The National Walking Month campaign is urging everyone to #Try20. A brisk walk for 20 minutes can burn as much as 100 calories. It’s a great way to start your fitness journey.
To find out more about how you become more active, lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle, visit Hounslow’s new health and wellbeing service – Healthy Hounslow.
With its network of parks and open space, Hounslow is the perfect place to start your walking adventure.
There are plenty of organised walks and resources to help you get started.
• The Hounslow Active Travel website has information about local health walks, how to become a walk leader and you can also find out more about Parkruns.
• Hounslow Greentalk is a great resource which allows you to plan your walk through Hounslow’s green spaces. Simply put in your postcode and off you go!
• The Friends of the River Crane Environment have a downloadable map of The Duke’s River Walk.
• Why not explore the local section of the Thames Path?
• There is plenty of information about local history walks throughout our borough on the Hounslow Heritage Guides website.
It’s good to talk…and walk
MenWalkTalk is a great chance for men to meet together to enjoy the fresh air and talk about the issues that are affecting them.
It’s open to men aged 18 and over and offers a safe space where men can open up in a non-judgemental environment.
In Hounslow, MenWalkTalk takes place at Gunnersbury Park on the third Saturday of everyone month. The group meets at 10.30am at the Pope’s Lane Entrance to the park.
MenWalkTalk sessions are free and you can earn BetterPoints for taking part.
Remember to dress for the weather and wear appropriate footwear.
Find out more here.
Walk the school run
Walking the children to school is a great way to get your steps in.
It’s also real quality time you can spend with your children.
Why not make it fun by introducing some activities to do along the way?
Here are some ideas:
• Explore a different route – If you are used to walking to school, why not go a different way? It may take a bit longer but it could be a mini-adventure for the children.
• Play I Spy – Now and again you have to take time to appreciate your surroundings. Children have keen eyes for detail. Why not put their skills to the test with a couple of games of I Spy along the way?
• Enjoy nature – why not see how many different types of plants and animals you can see along the way to school? From birds to bugs to flowers and shrubs you’ll be surprised at the variety of life that’s right on your doorstep.
• Just talk and enjoy it – You won’t see them for the rest of the day, so use this time to get to know what’s going on with your child. Ask them how they like school, what are they doing today and what their favourite lesson is.
The school run is one of the busiest and most congested times of the day when it comes to traffic. It brings with it concerns about road safety and air pollution.
Hounslow Council is working to make it as safe and enjoyable as possible to walk your children to school by introducing School Streets to the borough.
The School Street schemes aim to restrict motor traffic near a school and reduce the use of private vehicles on the journey to and from school.
Find out more here.