Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, is urging the public to #Try20 during National Walking Month this May.

The campaign encourages people to walk for 20 minutes every day throughout May to maintain their physical and mental health and wellbeing during lockdown.

Health experts recommend a brisk daily walk as an easy way to improve your health with a 20-minute walk being shown to reduce the risk of a number of preventable health conditions, including certain cancers, depression, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Try20

The charity has issued #Try20 tips for how to walk safely during COVID-19 lockdown and how to keep your daily exercise interesting, with activities for families, people working from home and those who are restricted to indoor exercise.

The tips are accompanied by podcasts, which have well-known personalities talking about the benefits of walking, including Olympic champion Chris Boardman MBE, Dame Sarah Storey, and Professor Shane O’Mara – author of In Praise of Walking.

Many of us are appreciating being able to get out for a walk at the moment. It remains incredibly important to keep active, both for our own wellbeing and to avoid storing up massive health problems for ourselves and the NHS in the future. Walking is one of the most accessible ways to stay active. Just 20 minutes can help improve our wellbeing and connect us with what’s around us.

Jenni Wiggle, Interim CEO, Living Streets

Chris Heaton-Harris, Walking Minister said:

“Walking has always been a great way to keep fit and active, but now more than ever it can help us all get some fresh air and boost our physical and mental wellbeing.

“As a result of Covid-19 many more people will be walking short distances that they may previously have taken on public transport or in the car, as well as discovering great walks on their doorstep for the first time.

“This challenge will encourage people to safely stay on the move, and hopefully inspire people to develop new active travel habits that will last a lifetime.”

Professor Shane O’Mara, author of ‘In Praise of Walking’ has written about the importance of walking for our social abilities and health, he said:

“Regular walking has great benefits for our physical health, but it also improves mood, memory and problem-solving, and can help with depression and anxiety.

“We need to integrate walking into every aspect of our everyday lives and that’s why it’s so important to improve our pavements and pathways so that everyone can enjoy its benefits.”

Cities worldwide have started to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling so they can do so at a safe distance from others.

Living Streets has created an online form for people to complete, asking their local councillors to call for action to reorganise our streets and public spaces to facilitate safe social distancing.

Jenni Wiggle continues:

“This pandemic is making us all realise how much public space is given over to individual car use rather than walking and cycling.

“Narrow footways, inappropriate speed limits and cars parked on pavements are all impacting on our ability to exercise safely. Now more than ever, we need to make sure there’s enough space for people to get out and walk.”