Getting up and going for a walk is as good for your mental health as it is for your physical wellbeing and, with the weather improving, it’s time to spring off your seat towards summer says local care trust, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust.

People of all ages benefit from moving at regular intervals during the day, but for those who have been working from home and been far less active over the last year, due to lockdown and other restrictions, the benefits are particularly important.

Research shows that British people sit on average for almost nine hours a day and there is compelling evidence that being seated for more than four hours a day doesn’t just affect your physical health, but can increase depression too.

“It’s been even easier than usual to become inactive and fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel low,” comments the Trust’s MyWellbeing College service manager Naomi Holdsworth. “With low mood you are likely to feel more sad, tired, worried, anxious or panicked, as well as becoming less confident, less motivated, less able to concentrate and more frustrated, irritated or angry.”

Yet just three brisk 30 minute walks each week in the spring sunshine can help to increase the flow of mood boosting chemicals, as well as increase your vitamin D levels and work the muscles in your bottom and legs, so reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.

simple ideas to get you on your feetNaomi says: “It’s for all those reasons that we’re not only backing the national On Your Feet Day (Thursday 29 April 2021) run by the Get Britain Standing campaign to get office workers to ‘wiggle it, waggle it, just don’t sit on it’, but we want to encourage local people of all ages and professions to just get up, get out and ‘walk it, work it’!

“Living in Yorkshire we’re lucky that there are so many local parks and green spaces close by where you can have a walk. And if you’re heading back into the office as restrictions relax, why not try walking at least part of the way to work? Or, if you’re able, why not treat yourself to a trip out to the dales or moors for a longer amble, ramble, treck or hike at the weekend?”

With many people craving company as we come out of lockdown, if you don’t have family or local friends you can walk with, the Trust’s ‘Champions Show the Way’ team has just reintroduced its walks schedule for small groups led by dedicated volunteer community health champions. The walks in Bradford take in Eccleshill, Bowling Park, Horton Bank top and Peel Park. There are also walks in Baildon, Bingley, Aire and Worth Valley, Haworth and Ilkley.

Get more information about walks and other activities to support your mental health, or to find out about online courses, self-help workbooks and other services to help you boost your mood or deal with anxiety, panic or other common mental health issues, visit the MyWellbeing College website.