It’s a free, convenient life-saver. So why aren’t more people walking?

I walk because it’s how I like to commute, and if I don’t, I get sad and I can’t think: my brain works best at 3mph

Share
Related Topics

There’s nothing I like more than a report which reaffirms exactly what I already believe, but with numbers. And this week, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Ramblers have provided exactly that. “Walking Works” is the title of their study, which is probably what you can expect when you get ramblers to pay for a research project. But never mind the potential bias: of course walking works. Walking is the most fun you can have in sensible shoes, and those are the only kind I like.

According to their report, it’s also a life-saver, helping us fight off heart disease, various cancers, strokes and type 2 diabetes. All that from something which also gets you to and from work, or the shops, or the park. That’s another reason to love a walk: unlike most exercise it has a secondary purpose. It gets you somewhere you need to be anyway, and it saves you from getting travel sick on the bus. Tell that to those poor saps cycling away on stationary bikes at the gym, like so many hamsters in wheels.

Walking is the best way to learn a city (ideally by day, until you know which routes are too murdery after sunset). It takes very little time to find the back streets which have less traffic and pollution, and if it means you turn up everywhere with slightly mussed hair and pink cheeks: so be it. Mr Darcy liked Elizabeth when she turned up with muddied hems and glowing skin, and if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for the rest of us.

The most shocking statistic in this report is not the headline figure (that 37,000 deaths could be prevented each year if we were all more active). It's that a third of us don’t even manage 30 minutes of exercise each week. Try as I might, I can’t understand this. Who are these people and why do they never need to leave the house? I suppose if you drive to work and there’s a car park right next to your office and you buy groceries online and have a flat on the ground floor, you might just manage it. But a third of us?

I walk because it’s how I like to commute, and if I don’t, I get sad and I can’t think: my brain works best at 3mph. When it comes to walking, I’m with Kierkegaard, who said: “Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it... thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.” The Ramblers couldn’t have put it better themselves.

Good news for Whovians

A heart-warming tale for Whovians anxiously polishing their Tardises in time for the Doctor’s 50th anniversary next month: lost episodes of Patrick Troughton-era  Doctor Who are going on sale this week, having been found (rather like a rare breed of wildebeest) in Africa.

The BBC has an ignoble history of wiping its master copies of early television shows, thinking no one would ever want to see them again, certainly not decades later, for money. But every now and then, someone tracks down a dusty cardboard box stuffed with old tapes, and a lost treasure is rediscovered, Raiders of the Lost Ark-style. So here’s hoping there’s a staff of Ra somewhere which will lead an archaeologist to the 100 or so episodes still missing.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

I don't blame parents who move to get their child into a good school

Chris Blackhurst
William Hague, addresses delegates at the Conservative party conference for the last time in his political career in Birmingham  

It’s only natural for politicians like William Hague to end up as journalists

Simon Kelner
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent