May is National Walking Month. Run by the organisation Living Streets, the campaign encourages people across the UK to celebrate the joy of walking.

Walking is great for your physical health. But it’s also good for your mind, the environment, your bank balance and so much more!  We’ve put together some information on why walking is such an all-round winner and how you can get your steps in this May.

Why Walking is Awesome

Walking is one of the easiest and cheapest forms of exercise. You don't need fancy equipment, an expensive membership or special training. Just put on your shoes and go!

There are lots of health benefits to walking, especially if you go at a brisk pace. These include increasing your energy levels, improving your fitness, strengthening your bones and muscles and boosting your stamina. Check out our article giving a full run-down of the physical and mental health benefits of walking.

Not only that, but walking instead of using your car or public transport is also better for the environment and saves you money.

Essex has so many opportunities to get outside and walk - from your local park, to great dog-walking spots and more besides. Walking outside in nature, from the tiniest local woodland or a wide windswept beach, brings huge additional benefits to your mental health:

  • Improving your mood, memory and sleep
  • Reducing stress, anger and tension 
  • Improving your confidence and self-esteem
  • Connecting you with your local community
  • Reducing loneliness

National Walking Month Activities

This year’s theme is #Try20, encouraging everyone to get 20 minutes of walking each day in May. Try out some of the ideas on the National Walking Month site or give our ideas a go. The important thing is to walk in ways you find rewarding.

Walking Challenges: If you’re someone who likes a challenge, or you have a group of friends who love to compete against each other, give yourselves a goal! Create a target of new routes to walk or challenge yourself to a certain number of steps each day. You can record your daily steps in the Amara app, free to download to your device

Walking Groups: If you love to socialise and meet new people, why not join a local walking group? Groups are often advertised at your local doctor’s surgery, community centre, children’s centre, local authority gym or on local notice boards. 

Make It Fun: Walks don’t have to be endless silent plodding. That might be what you need sometimes, but if not, mix things up! Listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks to bring a new element to your walk, play a game, go geocaching, take part in a virtual treasure hunt or mystery game, or just take time to enjoy somewhere you really love. 

Family Walks: Get your steps in while boosting family time, strengthening bonds and helping children keep active. Make sure to keep it fun and move at a pace that’s sustainable for your least able walker. You may find that children open up more easily about what’s on their mind when they’re walking too.

Get Involved

There are so many benefits to walking. These include improvements to your physical health, boosts to mental wellbeing, increasing social connections, enjoying nature and supporting healthy family time. 

Take part in National Walking Month this May and explore what your local area of Essex has to offer. Here are our five favourite walking spots across the county - this month, we hope you find some of yours.

Don’t forget to track your steps and celebrate your progress using the Amara app, free to download on your device.

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Essex has so many opportunities to get outside into nature - there are parks, gardens, beaches, nature reserves and a huge network of footpaths across the county.