Active Travel Week: Walk It!
Continuing this week’s theme of Active Travel, we welcome a guest post from Greatvine expert Yvonne Wake, a Public Health Nutritionist who has 35 years experience in nutrition and fitness, and is also a University lecturer on the subject. She tackles the subject of walking, why it’s good for you, the economics and how to get started.
There are a number of reasons why generally we are not keen on exercise. Firstly, it is not natural to wake up and think whoopee, I should exercise! Also, we are not meant to actually exercise in order to stay fit and healthy; we are really meant to expel our energy by such activities as working on the land – as nature intended! Energy In equates to Energy Out is really how it should look. Sadly though, in the last 50 years we have stopped living as nature intended and have become a western world of sitters and couch potatoes living the most unhealthy sedentary lifestyles, and never before in the history of man has exercise been more badly needed.
We no longer lift things, build things, repair things in the home, pick fruit, tend the garden, ride our bikes, wash our own clothes, and to boot, we ashamedly use the car for very short journeys that could very easily be carried out on foot, we’ve all done it, and we know it’s shameful to be dropping children off to the cinema or to a friends to play when it really is not that far. The sad reality is that we rely on the car, spend lots of money on the car, and especially on petrol – which is a big scandal in itself, and in all this mix, we don’t think there is any other way to get around but with the car. The simple fact is that we have stopped walking, stopped moving, and the car has become second homes for some of us! Obviously some journeys are only possible with a car, i.e. family trips out of town with luggage piled high, and big supermarket shopping trips, but as it relates to taking public transport versus using the car, the car is the sad loser! Today, the transport systems are way superior, and cheaper, and for some even free, so really it’s a no brainer. And if we really care about the environment, care about our health, and want the best, then WALKING or cycling has got to be it!
We have forgotten that lovely feeling of a brisk walk along the sea front, up a tough country lane, or simply picking the children up from school and taking the long way home via the beach, and I don’t think I need to labour the point that one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease and obesity today is a ‘sedentary’ lifestyle. The good news though is that this is actually a risk factor that we can do something about. As regular exercise goes, fast pace walking is a hard one to turn down. Firstly it is the best form of exercise you will encounter, suits people of all ages, fits into the busiest people’s schedules, and can be done whenever you want to do it. It is refreshing, it is painless, it can be interesting depending on the environment, it can be social and it is probably the best course of action if you are someone with other health complications as there is nothing too taxing on your physical being and you can stop whenever you want. Finally, it’s a FREE activity. We can walk wherever we want for gratis and become healthier in the process.
Where to begin I hear you say! Well, there is nothing more motivating than team effort, everyone on board, doing it because if you don’t the others may smirk and sneer, being part of ‘the club’ and all pooling together to really make a difference! Your time has come! This week is where the real change begins, it’s the kick up the derriere that we all needed, so get out of the car, park it in the drive, throw away the keys for a day and join the throng of walkers, cyclists, bus hoppers, tram riders, skate boarders and train takers and be part of your new beginning as an earth saver, a fitness beginner, or an environmentalist of the highest order! Try walking, take the bus if you really have to, dig out that rusty old bike and sort it out, join us and feel fabulous for a day! You know it makes sense…