As part of National Walking Month, Westfield Health, launched their 'Walking Lunch' campaign, encouraging people to use their lunch breaks to walk for 20 minutes.

Fiona Lowe, Head of HR & Strategy at Westfield Health tells us just why it's so important. 


Westfield Health rep standing with Living Streets staff

In a recent Westfield Health survey, it was revealed that 55% of UK workers eat lunch at their desks and half of us only get up from our desks to go to the toilet during the whole working day. This needs to change.

Of course we all know that exercise does us good - but even the mere act of walking has huge health benefits even in small quantities. Moderate intensity walking has just as effective benefits as jogging like lowering the risk of high blood pressure - and you don’t even need to wear lycra!

The physical benefits of walking are clear: 

1. You can reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes by walking regularly. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The Stroke Association says that a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27 percent.

​2. A brisk walk helps to boost your circulation and increase oxygen supply to all your cells, giving you great benefits such as more energy and even healthier looking skin.

3. Walking even boosts your immune system for 24 hours - who knew?

4. Physically active employees also take 27% less sick days than non-active employees, leaving them healthier the whole year round. 

5. Walking is also great for getting some more Vitamin D. Many people in the UK are vitamin D deficient which is essential for important things such as bone health.

Walking has plenty of mental health benefits as well:

6. Being active promotes mental health and wellbeing. It improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.

7. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed.

8. Physical activity stimulates the release of body chemicals called endorphins, which act as natural painkillers, reduce stress and produce feelings of wellbeing.

9. Walking improves cerebral blood flow and lowers the risk of vascular disease, which may be linked to helping you stave off dementia. 

10. Scientists at Essex University found that our wellbeing is boosted significantly with as little as 5 minutes outdoor exercise.

And even a few unexpected perks...

Why walk - walking 20-25 minutes each week could extend your life by a couple of years. And you can tell that to your great, great grandchildren.

So share with us your walking selfies and stories to @WestfieldHealth and use #WHWalkingLunch, and why not see how our Footsie250 competition is going here?