Why walking and cycling are good for you -- and the environment
It has never been more important to look after our health and wellbeing. Getting outside in the fresh air and natural daylight is beneficial for our minds as well as our bodies. Especially after the challenging year we’ve all had!
Epsom and Ewell is home to many beautiful parks and open green spaces. There are plenty of areas of outstanding natural beauty right on your doorstep. So why not explore new places that are close to home as part of your daily exercise, by walking or cycling in your local area?
Walking and cycling are good for your health, great for the environment, and easy to fit into your daily routine - making them an excellent way to boost your mood, and be more active.
You could incorporate walking or cycling into your existing exercise regime -- or enjoy as part of a healthy break-time activity, especially if you’re working at home. Why not walk to one of your local shopping parades instead of taking the car to get some fresh air and exercise? Or enjoy as part of your downtime as something to look forward to at the weekend.
What are the health benefits?
Walking and cycling on a regular basis, can:
- reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, depression and cardiovascular disease.
- improve your mental agility during the day, and your quality of sleep at night
- improve your metabolism - meaning not only regulate your weight, but how well you age!
Why is walking and cycling is good for the environment?
- Road traffic is the single biggest contributor to poor air quality. It makes up almost 80% of roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.
- Walking and cycling reduces your carbon footprint and helps meet global climate change goals.
- A reduction of just 10 miles per week (16km) using an average car, will save the planet between 2.7-2.9kg of CO2 emissions. That's as much as 4 bath-tubs!
Tips on how to get started
Setting goals and knowing what motivates you can help keep you on track. If you're struggling to get started, try to think about what will motivate you the most.
- Write a list of benefits. This could be things like, improved physical health, feeling better, having a routine, supporting climate change, saving petrol money.
- Look at the list and ask yourself what one thing stands out the most?
- Ask yourself what has previously motivated you to change another area of your life? For example, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol or taking up a new sport. What was the driving force, and what did you do to stay motivated?
Setting a SMART goal
SMART goals are:
- Specific - what is it you want to achieve? For example, "I want to walk or cycle to work 3 times a week."
- Measurable - can you measure your success? For example, by cycling or walking, you can save money on petrol.
- Achievable & Realistic - can you achieve this goal? It might not be possible to walk or cycle in some situations that are unique to you. But always find a solution or plan around any issues you can think of to help you achieve your goal.
- Time bound - decide when you are going to review your progress and stick to it. Don't leave your SMART goal open-ended.
- Always let someone know about a change in your normal routine, or plans to exercise (and where) especially if doing so alone.
- Always have your phone on you, and keep it well charged.
- Plan your route and stick to well-lit areas during darker evenings.
- Download maps on your phone in case you lose your way.
- Always have some water with you and stay hydrated
- Do not take part in physical activity if you feel unwell, are in pain, or have any condition for which you have been advised not to exercise.