15 July 2014

With less than two months to go before the Twenty Million Steps weekend, Northamptonshire County Council is giving people the top ten reasons to get walking.

Twenty Million Steps will see county residents be challenged to go for a walk during the 5th to 7th September. The council will be counting everyone’s steps until the county as a whole reaches the target of 20,000,000 steps.

The challenge has been issued in response to recent statistics which show that Northamptonshire is the fifth fattest county.

Top 10 reasons to go for a walk

  1. It’s free – there’s no need for expensive gym membership or equipment to go for a walk.
  2. Walking can be done almost anywhere, at any time, so it’s easy to take part.
  3. There’s no need for Lycra or other special clothes, so people don’t need to feel self-conscious when they are out for a walk.
  4. Walking is perfect for anyone who has poor health or hasn’t exercised in a long time as people can start off as slowly as they need.
  5. Walking is sociable, it’s a chance to spend time with family or friends.
  6. Walking can also be done alone, and is an opportunity for some time out and space from a busy lifestyle.
  7. Walking is a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly way of getting from A to B.
  8. Walking and staying active has real health benefits including maintaining a healthy weight, reducing blood pressure, building healthy muscles and bones, improving balance, increasing good cholesterol and reducing the risk of falls.
  9. Being more active also reduces the risk by 20 – 50% of getting serious diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
  10. Plus people who stay active get less stressed, sleep better, feel better and have a 30% lower chance of getting depressed.

Councillor Robin Brown, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing said: "We’re giving people ten reasons to get walking but the overall reason is very simple – going for a walk makes you feel healthier and happier.

“If we achieve the goal of 20 million steps during 5 – 7 September it will be something everyone can be proud of, plus going for a walk is a great way to pass the time. It helps people feel less stressed, it’s an opportunity to spend time with family or friends, it’s a chance to get some fresh air and it’s free to take part.

“For many of us going for a walk is as simple as putting on a pair of shoes and stepping outside – so let’s get walking and work together to reach 20 million steps.”

By increasing the amount of physical exercise and activity that is undertaken, people in the county can have an increased sense of wellbeing, more self-confidence and even a better life expectancy.

How to take part

To take part in the Twenty Million Steps weekend, people can go for a walk wherever they prefer, whether it’s in a town centre, through a village, or perhaps at a country park.

Walking distances can then be logged in three ways:

  • Submitting a form available at the council’s country parks
  • Using one of the Twenty Million Steps treadmills based in selected town centres
  • Using the MapMyWalk app on their smartphone

To find out more about Twenty Million Steps and how to take part people can visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/20millionsteps or follow @Northants2020 on Twitter and Instagram.