May was National Walking Month and thousands of people pledged to #Try20 and walk at least 20 minutes every day. There were plenty of campaigns promoting walking to work, and encouraging the idea of getting some early exercise first thing in the morning. But really, every month should be National Walking Month!
According to one study, those who walk to the bus stop rather than drive to work weigh at least 5lbs less, according to science. The study, by researchers at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, shows that tens of thousands could lose weight simply by walking more during their daily commute.
According to a study from the London School of Economics, brisk walking is a better deterrent against obesity than any other form of exercise. That means no expensive gym memberships or the need to buy gym equipment. You and your legs can walk yourself to health.
Why are we talking about this? As a Web Design company, we spend a lot of time sitting (some of us have standing desks too though!) at a computer screen. The team have to find ways outside of work or on the way to and from work to exercise or get moving. From being a dedicated gym member, to playing badminton or squash, the activities are endless.
The NHS promotes walking above all other exercise too. So we know that it's important for health and well-being.
We decided to run our own challenge. We've read a lot about how walking to work has changed peoples lives, and how they feel health wise. And we thought, we've got nothing to lose! For one week, the Toolkit team were challenged to walk to work every day, document how long it took and how it made them feel at the end of the challenge.
Team members also upped their water intake, which is another thing the NHS and other health organisations promote. On average you are meant to drink 2 litres a day!
Here is how it went.
Remko, our Business Development Manager said: "It takes me 15 minutes to cycle to work. It makes me feel great because I can get away with eating more and not feeling bloated! I also drink between 3-4 pints of water a day as a norm."
We had some team members who lived too far away from work so they couldn't walk. However, both of them get trains and walk a good 15 minutes from the train station to the office.
Operations Manager David said: "I average 7,350 steps every working day. This includes a 5 minute walk to the train station from my home and a 15 minute walk from Southampton Central to and from our office My fitbit tells me how many steps I take per day. When I drive to work I noticeably feel lethargic due to the lack of exercise! I tend to drink up to 6 pints of water throughout the day anyway, so 4 pints is easy to do, and helps feeling healthy!"
We also had the opposite problem, with some of the team living too close to work to benefit from the walk.
Senior Project Manager Lanara takes 3 minutes or less to get to the office, but admits that she does a lot of walking in her spare time.
For the purpose of this challenge, Lanara got up half an hour early, and used her spin bike for 20 minutes before coming to work. She said: "The difference in how awake I feel has been the most noticeable thing. I don't feel as tired, I feel like I've had time to wake up properly ready for the day ahead. With regards to water, I drink nearly 8 pints of water a day as it is, which is 4.5 litres. It helps keep you hydrated, detoxed and gets rid of bloating."
Most team members accepted the challenge of walking to work, but struggled with the water intake. Results found that tea and coffee drinks struggled more so than those who didn't drink hot drinks at all. The British Nutrition Foundation say that water is essential for life and it is very important to get the right amount of fluid to be healthy. However they do say:
"Drinking tea or coffee also delivers water, and even though these drinks can contain caffeine, in moderate amounts caffeine doesn’t affect hydration."
Why do you need water?
Your body is nearly two-thirds water and so it is really important that you consume enough fluid to stay hydrated and healthy. If you don’t get enough fluid you may feel tired, get headaches and not perform at your best. You also get water from the food you eat – on average food provides about 20% of your total fluid intake.
Does it matter which drinks you choose?
When you choose your drinks it is important to be aware that although they all provide water and some also contain essential vitamins and minerals, they may also provide energy (calories). These calories contribute to your daily calorie intake in the same way as those from the foods you eat.
So there you have it! Our healthy/ walking to work initiative week in a nutshell.
Let us know what you think on Twitter, using the hashtag #walktoworkinitiative