Walking to work, college or school – or wherever else you’re going locally, is one of the best ways of getting fresh air, saving money, burning a few calories and maybe even saving time!
For help in choosing the shortest route from A to B covering most built up areas, why not try out the Walking Journey Planner. Don’t forget though that there may be other slightly longer but more pleasant routes, so if you’re making the same journey on a regular basis, experiment with alternatives. Travelwise Northern Ireland have also developed a walking calorie calculator tool that you might find useful.
Walking for Health
Walking is not only cheaper than driving and better for the environment, it’s good for you as well!
Want to lift your mood and reduce stress levels? Want to be good to your heart, lungs, and lower your cholesterol levels and blood pressure? Start walking! It’ll also strengthen bones and lessen the risk of osteoporosis.
Regular walking is as good as joining a gym and if you walk while going about your daily routines you don’t have to make time in your schedule for yet another activity. It will keep you fit and can help you lose weight. You’d be surprised what even a short walk can do – walking just two kilometres a day or for twenty minutes briskly will burn off about 125 calories.
Even if you don’t change your eating habits, this walking will result in weight loss of almost half a kilo a month or six kilos a year. Not bad for so little effort. Walking is great for all age groups, it is simple and safe and does not require costly equipment. All that is needed is a comfortable pair of walking shoes and suitable clothing for the weather conditions and you’ve probably already got these!
And you don’t have to be super-fit to enjoy walking. One of the great things about walking is you can take it at whatever pace suits you.
Of course not all of us live close enough to work to walk – but maybe you can combine walking with public transport – for example by walking instead of driving to the train station or by getting off a bus stop or two early on the way home.
Where you can, try walking more often to local shops, pubs or restaurants in your area, instead of driving.
If you are a car driver, walking can also give you the good feeling that you are doing your bit for a more pleasant city and a cleaner environment by leaving your car behind.
So why not try walking instead of driving when you can?
You may find the website Get Ireland Walking useful, there are tips for getting started, information on walking groups and other walking events taking places around the country. You might also be interested in finding a mapped walking route in your area:
- Sli na Slainte (Pathway to Health)
Getting to know your neighbourhood
There’s a social side to walking. You can meet your neighbours as you walk and chat. You can check out what’s happening in the neighbourhood. You can see the places in your neighbourhood your children play in. Without even trying you can become more aware of your community and start taking a more active interest in it. And as more people walk in a neighbourhood, it becomes a safer and more pleasant place to live in.
How much money can I save?
For details on the cost of motoring and how much you might be able to save by swapping some trips for walking the AA have a useful chart that breaks down the cost of motoring by car type, this can be viewed on the AA website.
Which journeys are best for walking?
- Journeys to work or school – if work is close enough to where you live. Unlike driving, walking times are very consistent and reliable.
- On business – traffic can be unpredictably bad at any time of the working day – if you’re out and about on business or meetings relatively close to work it can make a lot of sense, and save time, to walk when you can instead.
- To a rail station or bus stop.
- To local shops – for taking “top up” shopping home – and you don’t have any of the stresses of car parking.
- To parks or sports facilities – its great to get out for some fresh air and exercise but having to drive there defeats the purpose. Try walking instead – maybe with friends or family.
- Visiting friends – you don’t need to worry about getting taxis or lifts home To cinemas or for a meal – again no need to worry about taxis or lifts home and no parking worries either.
For information on pedestrian safety please refer to the Road Safety Authority.
What about the rain?
So – it rains sometimes, but remember before you jump in the car on a rainy day – everyone else has the same idea and the traffic will be even worse than usual. Get a decent rain/wind top or umbrella and check the weather forecasts for the days when you might get caught in a shower or worse. Of course no-one says you have to walk every day, so if you’re worried about a particularly ugly looking cloud lurking on the horizon maybe just get the bus in that day.
What about cold weather?
Gloves and a scarf are of course useful on particularly cold mornings. Other than that, cold crisp fresh air makes walking really fun – a break from the artificial environment of centrally heated homes, air conditioned cars and heated workplaces. And since you are moving you’re generating your own heat.Back to top