CityConnect’s tips on building more walking into your daily routine in 2019

With the festivities over for another year everyone’s attention is on the New Year: an opportunity to do things differently and to break out of old routines.

Among the many resolutions there will doubtless be a number of commitments to fitting more physical activity into our busy lives.

According to government guidelines, adults need at least 150 minutes exercise a week but many of us struggle to build this level of physical activity into our busy lives – 39% of us don’t, according to the British Heart Foundation.

Walking short, local journeys is a simple, free and easy way to boost your activity levels.

Here are some top tips to build more walking into your daily routine, as compiled by the team behind West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £60m CityConnect programme, aimed at encouraging more people to travel on foot or by bike.

Tips to build more walking into your daily routine

Walk part of your journey. Whether you’re heading to work, college, the shops or to see friends, why not walk part of the way? Walk to the train station, get off the bus a couple of stops earlier or park a bit further away from your destination. Remember it only takes about 20 minutes to walk one mile.

Enjoy a social walk. Whether it’s getting to know your colleagues, making new friends or catching up with loved ones, walking is a great way to socialise. You don’t have to climb a mountain, exploring your local area can be just as rewarding.

Set up a lunchtime exclusion zone. Discover new things by taking a 15 minute walk from the office in different directions at lunchtimes.

Take your meetings outside. Hold walking meetings with your colleagues or a client. A change of scene can inspire creativity and the chances are you’ll all return to the office happier, healthier and more productive.

Borrow a dog. Does your neighbour, friend or someone in your family have a dog? Most dogs wouldn’t say no to an extra walk each day or week, so why not offer to take them out. You’ll get all the health benefits of having a dog without the commitment.

Make a pledge and stick to it. Whether it’s to walk more, swap some of your train / bus / car time for foot time or to save some cash by shaking up your commute. Whatever the reason, while you’re feeling motivated set yourself a target and then shout it from the rooftops. If your family, friends and colleagues all know what you’re doing and why, they can help motivate you if and when you need it.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “Walking is good for the mind as well as the body - it can help reduce the risk of preventable diseases, inspire creativity, and reduce stress, as well as reducing travel costs and improving air quality.”

“Whatever the reason, building more walking into your commute or as part of your daily routine is a great way to boost your activity levels and your mood.”

Share pictures of your walking adventures, however big or small, with CityConnect on Twitter (@cityconnect1) and Facebook (@cyclecityconnect).

From route information to free adult cycle training, online challenges and support for businesses, find out how CityConnect can help you cycle and walk more.