Keeping active in later life is very important and walking is a great choice – it’s gentle and low impact, but brings a host of health benefits.
This May is Living Streets’ National Walking Month and we’re encouraging people to Try20 – that is, to fit 20 minutes of walking into their day throughout May and see what benefits they experience to their health and happiness.
Try20 might not be possible for all, but any amount of physical activity has its benefits. Walking prevents weight gain; chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer; and has been shown to reduce depression. It also creates the opportunity for older people to get out and about, meet other people and remain part of their community.
However, some older people find it impossible to leave their home because their streets are difficult to navigate and there’s nowhere to rest. Addressing barriers to walking, such as a lack of street furniture, will help people to become more active. Not only will this improve their quality of life by giving them extra years of independent living, it will also reduce the risk of isolation.
During this year’s National Walking Month, Living Streets is asking people to rate their walk. We’re encouraging people to think about the issues affecting them as they use their streets and let us know through the Living Streets website. Does the local area feel overrun with traffic? Would more dropped kerbs make the streets better for wheelchair users? Is there a lack of seating?
By making our voices heard we can improve our streets, making them better for walking.
To find out more about National Walking Month and how to have your say, visit www.livingstreets.org.uk/NationalWalkingMonth