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Improve work and wellbeing with walking

Experts agree walking is good for you because it is a low impact physical exercise that most people can take part in that doesn’t require any special equipment or expensive kit

Simply walking more can improve your mood, ease stress, and help fight off dementia and cancer. Big claims for something as basic as going for a walk, but the list of benefits doesn’t stop there.

Research shows that walking helps to improve mood and positively increases feelings of calm and wellbeing. Walking fosters creativity, enables a change of scene and an escape from the computer screen. It helps your mind to flow in a different direction and as a result, you will often find the solution to that knotty problem that you were wrestling with.
Walking is a great way to help keep control of your weight, it improves your body’s response to insulin, which can help reduce flab around your midriff and by building more muscle you will be burning more calories.

Regular exercise, such as walking, also helps the body to fight disease, from dementia to cancer, diabetes to high blood pressure. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who met physical activity guidelines of 30 or more minutes of moderate activity on five or more days of the week had a 30 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who did not walk regularly.

So why isn’t everyone doing it?
There are many reasons—inertia being one of the main contenders. Sedentary jobs and long hours can make us feel like we haven’t got time or energy enough. To combat this health hazard, some wellbeing schemes are working with forward-thinking employers to help support and motivate employees to take better care of themselves throughout the week.  

The reasoning is sound. A fitter, more active workforce, provides many benefits to an organisation. As well as the more obvious benefits such as lower sickness and absence rates, staff tend to be more positive, more creative and more productive, so it is well worth making the effort to encourage people to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Promoting wellbeing in the workplace comes in many forms, from encouraging walking or other types of activity during the lunch break to regular monthly or even weekly events. Once you have started something new, keeping it going takes effort, which is where a health and wellbeing platform like The Zone comes in. Employees have access to a range of self-assessment tools and improvement plans that help them to manage their physical fitness, emotional wellbeing, their diet and even their personal finances—of course, walking to work helps to save travel and parking costs too.  
 
Adding a fun factor to your fitness goals can help to keep you on track so The Zone’s Recognition Hub comes with a social wall where people can encourage each other, share messages and photos, arrange lunchtime walks or after work activities. 
 
You don’t have to wait for your workplace to get with the programme, of course. You can create your own ‘walk more’ strategy with the mighty pen and a piece of paper. One valuable lesson worth taking from employee wellbeing schemes is the focus on camaraderie. Rope in a friends and maybe even get your boss on-side to help you find opportunities for more activity and stick to it.

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