Walk To Work, Straya

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Sydney, Sept 1: On the eve of Walk to Work Day supporting Diabetes Australia, there has never been a better time to reap the benefits that regular walking can have on your work life, productivity and stress levels, published author, clinical psychologist and neuroscientist Dr Stan Rodski said.
In his most recent book, The Neuroscience of Mindfulness he explains that mindfulness, which is so good for our mental health, is not just about sitting or lying down.
“We can practise mindfulness while we walk. For some of us, this happens without realising it, because our brain’s motor cortex gets busy whilst walking. This in turn allows us to engage other regions of the brain to relax – particularly the noisy parts located deep in our limbic system which is responsible for our emotions,” he said.
Employers have an important role to play in encouraging their staff to build walking into their daily routine.
Walking promotes better physical and social health and can make employees more productive and improve their general health. It also has the incredible ability to reduce stress.
“Most people’s stress starts with the complaint saying that I don’t have enough time and walking radically changes our relationship with time.
“Firstly, walking lowers our brain wave frequency and this promotes an expansive, less time-dependent mindset.
“Secondly, the flow of neurotransmitters in the brain changes to create a more open and spacious mindset. Time becomes less rigid, it slows down and moves in a less chronologically-regulated way. Finally, after 30 to 40 minutes of walking the activity of our brain’s prefrontal cortex diminishes and we drop into a flow state, which slows down time, which in turn helps manage stress.
“Walking is so simple for most of us. There is no excuse, just go for a walk and realise the multitude of benefits almost immediately – especially at work,” Rodski said.
Supporting Diabetes Australia and celebrating its 22nd anniversary, Walk to Work Day is an initiative championed by the Pedestrian Council that aims to raise awareness of the health, transport and environmental benefits that regular walking (especially to and from work) can provide for the long term well-being of our adult workforce not just this Friday, but every day.

Harold Scruby
Harold Scruby

Chairman of the Pedestrian Council, Harold Scruby, a long-term advocate of regular walking, said that post-pandemic, there has never been a greater need to remind people to take the time to walk.
“We have irrefutable evidence that physical activity, particularly walking boosts productivity in the workplace. Given the Jobs and Skills Summit at Parliament House has a focus on productivity this week, I hope they address workplace culture around physical activity, and more immediately that the attendees themselves become more productive and walk to the Summit this Friday on Walk to Work Day,” Scruby said.
Walking 10,000 steps a day is a terrific target to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.
“Let’s not make any more excuses! Walking regularly not only improves your mental well-being and productivity but helps you reduce the risk of health conditions like type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and various types of cancer. Many people can walk at least 1km to and from work, set the alarm 30 minutes earlier and create a great example for your kids, friends and colleagues at work,” he said.
Small changes to your behaviour like walking to and from work, walking meetings, taking a walk at lunchtime, using the stairs instead of the lift and step challenges with your colleagues are just some of the ways you can start making a difference in your personal health and wellbeing. If you work from home, take regular breaks and walk around the block to stop sedentary behaviour.
Scruby went on to say that regular walking also improves our environment by reducing our dependency on cars.
“Best of all – walking is free!” he said.

How you and your workplace can get involved tomorrow:

If you can’t walk all the way, use public transport and get off the bus, train, tram or ferry a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way to work.

If you do need to drive, leave the car a kilometre or two from your destination and walk the rest of the way.

If working from home, make sure you take regular breaks and walk as much as you can throughout the day.

Take a half-hour walk at lunchtime.

Where possible use the stairs rather than escalators or the lift.

If you sit at a desk, be sure to get up and walk around at least once every hour.

Get up and talk to your colleagues instead of sending them emails.

Rather than holding meetings around a table or over zoom, host a ‘walking meeting.’

Challenge your workmates and compare your step stats in the lead-up to the day.

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