Step out for National Walk to Work Week from 27 April to 1 May 2009

April 20th, 2009 by Pat Wisher

Commuters are encouraged to put both feet forward for National Walk to Work Week (27 April to 1 May 2009).  National charity Living Streets runs the Walking Works Campaign, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, and in London by Transport for London.  Living Streets Guernsey (formerly STEPS) is hoping that Guernsey commuters will take part in the initiative this year.

Chair of Living Streets Guernsey, Deputy John Gollop, says “There’s been a lot of emphasis on healthy eating and we all know we should have “five a day”, but the “30 a day” message isn’t being heard.  Health professionals recommend that walking 30 minutes five days a week can transform your health (and save you lots of money on gym memberships). Walking to and from work must be the best way of achieving your 30 a day.”

The distances in Guernsey are so small that it must be easy for many commuters within a mile of their workplace to walk to work – a mile is a 15 minute walk.  Walk to Work Week is a reminder that walking all (or part) of the commute is natural, fun, sociable and healthy.

Chief Executive of Living Streets UK, Tony Armstrong, says “We’re facing an obesity epidemic in this country largely because too few people are exercising enough to get health benefits.  But there is a free and easy way to gain more exercise in your daily routine – give yourself a daily dose of walking.”

According to UK research inactivity not only has a huge impact on the health of individuals, it affects businesses too.  Experts suggest that just 90 minutes of exercise a week can cut absenteeism by up to a half.  In 2007, the average worker took almost 7 days off work sick, losing 172 million working days and costing the economy a total of 13.2 billion.

Living Streets Guernsey hopes that islanders will leave their cars at home and walk to work during Walk to Work Week.  And once they do they might enjoy it so much it will become a habit!

Walking can be quicker too.  Last year Living Streets featured a young woman who worked at Josef’s and lived in Upper St. Jacques.  It used to take her 40 minutes to get to work by car – by the time she had negotiated the traffic, sat in queues, found a parking space and walked back to Josef’s.  She decided to sell her car and now she walks to work.  As a result she gets an extra half an hour in bed and she has saved a large amount of money in petrol and car maintenance fees!  Her walk takes her just 20 minutes.  Her route takes her down the Grange and Victoria Road and then through the Old Quarter to the Markets.

Of course Living Streets realises that walking isn’t an option for every islander – those with child care responsibilities and those who live too far from their workplace to walk.  However, “ride and stride” is an option for those who live outside walking distance.

Walking part of the commute can be achieved by getting off a bus early and doing the last bit on foot.  For those islanders on the No. 7A bus route, getting off either at the top of the Grange or at Trinity Square and walking down into Town through the Old Quarter could be an interesting experience and it would also increase the footfall in this much undervalued part of Town.  This bus route provides a really good commuter service for islanders who live between Pleinmont and Town, including the Forest and St. Martin.  Buses arrive in Town at 0738, 0808, 0823 (via Les Meriennes & the Grange) and 0845 (via Trinity Square).

Similarly for those living in the Cobo, Saumarez Park, L’Aumone area the No. 3/3A bus gets you to Town for 0735, 0740, 0751, 0825, 0851 and also goes down the Grange giving an opportunity to get off early and get some exercise walking down through the Old Quarter.

  1. No Comments

Have your say