National charities Living Streets and Mind have teamed up for Walk to Work Week (12-16 May) to highlight how walking can help to combat workplace stress – the number one cause of sickness absence in the UK.
Recent research commissioned by Mind found that work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives with one in three people (34 per cent) saying their work life was either very or quite stressful. It is often compounded by workers rarely taking some time out during the day. A YouGov survey commissioned by Living Streets found that 47% of office staff eat lunch at their desks four or more times a week and 43% don’t even set foot outside for a 20 minute walk.
During Walk to Work Week the charities are encouraging people to build some walking into their day to benefit their physical and mental health. A Living Streets survey found that over 80 per cent of people reported an uplift in mood after going for a walk outside.
Mind’s Head of Information, Beth Murphy, said:
"Most of us experience pressure in our jobs, and in small doses, it can be beneficial, helping us stay alert and motivated, and enabling us to meet deadlines. However, long term exposure to stress can affect us negatively, for example, affecting our sleep patterns or causing us undue anxiety, which over time, can cause or worsen mental health problems.
"A brisk walk to work in the morning is the ideal way to help us clear the decks and prepare for the day ahead. Similarly walking home from work can help us switch off from our jobs, whilst a stroll at lunchtime can be a useful break during a busy day."
Living Streets’ aim is to encourage workplaces and individuals to sign up to Walk to Work Week via the website and try walking all or part of their daily commute. Staff and organisations can also pledge to donate their usual travel costs to a charity or good cause or organise competing teams at work.
Living Streets’ Chief Executive, Tony Armstrong, said:
"Walk to Work Week is an opportunity to give walking a go. Sign up with your work colleagues and you can form teams, compete for prizes, log your progress on the website and even fundraise for your favourite cause. It’s a fun way to enjoy a clearer head and a healthier heart."
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