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Walking to work, who would do that these days? Obviously, with all the rushing around that most people have to do in the morning (and perhaps hitting the snooze button 5 times before crawling out of bed!) can lead to barely getting to work on time driving in the car… who has time to WALK to work?

Well, Walk to Work Day is a chance to change up that routine, add a little more time to it, and see how a slower start to the day that incorporates a brisk walk can lead to a more efficient life overall. In this age of growing awareness about how being sedentary affects a person’s health, walking to work can make a huge difference in people’s lives, and their lifespans.

Of course, the heart of Walk to Work Day isn’t just based on taking care of a human’s physical and emotional health but actually concerns itself with the health of the planet as a whole. Foregoing driving a car back and forth to work is one small way that can make a big difference in preventing more damage to the earth’s environment. And it’s healthy for you too!

So get ready for Walk to Work Day–to enjoy personal benefits as well as helping out the planet.

History of Walk To Work Day

Prevention magazine created and promoted this day in 2004 in an effort to provide its readers with not only information but creative strategies to improve their health and the quality of their lives. Once it began, the day was quickly picked up by the US Department of Health and Human Services, which had been mulling around the idea for years prior. There was a strong mutual push for this holiday in the years to follow and it continues to be celebrated and supported, officially and unofficially, by various people and in locations all over the world!

Walking to work provides amazing health benefits to the otherwise sedentary person. The extra time necessary to walk to work helps wake a person up and spend time clearing the head in order to greet the day in something less than a rush. This leads to better physical health, as well as to better mental acuity and top performance when at work.

In a world where people so often forget that there’s more to life than working and sleeping, this extra time can help them take time to appreciate the things that they usually miss. Whether it’s just the feel of the wind on the skin, the sun overhead, the rain falling down, the sound of birds or just the activity and life of the city all around, Walk to Work Day helps to reconnect people with their environment in some very important ways.

Plus, walking to work means that people are using their own bodily energy instead of relying on a car to take them to work. Obviously, this is a much more environmentally friendly way to function, relieving some of the stress put on the earth from the use of fossil fuels or other energies, reducing pollution, and minimizing each person’s carbon footprint.

Those who are too far away from their workplaces to walk the whole way can certainly take this day to walk to public transportation, such as a bus or subway stop, and then walk from the final stop into work. And those who work from home? Well, they can plan to take a brisk morning walk in the neighborhood prior to sitting down at the desk to get to work or use the time at lunch for a walk.

No matter what, walking is a super healthy and earth-friendly way to start the day. And, hopefully, this will turn into a habit that is practiced once a month, once a week or even every day!

How to Celebrate Walk to Work Day

Set the car keys down, set the alarm for a little bit earlier, pack up a breakfast that can be eaten on the go, and plot the route to get to work (don’t forget that there are often shortcuts for those who are on foot that cars can’t take!).

Those are the first steps to your Walk to Work Day experience, and here are some more ideas that might be useful in observance of this day:

Plan a Route

Just because you drive a certain way to work every day does not mean that’s the best way to walk. Certain roads and highways do not allow pedestrians, while others might not have adequate walking paths or sidewalks. The good news is that sometimes people on foot can take shortcuts that cars can’t. For instance, pedestrians can go whichever way they want on a one-way street. So pull up a map app on that smartphone, get the route planned out ahead of time and get excited about Walk to Work Day.

Don’t Forget Walking Gear

After that, it might be a good idea to grab the second set of shoes to throw in a bag to avoid trying to walk in heels or dress shoes, both of which are just going to lead to a day of woe for those feet–with blisters the size of pancakes. So for those who work in a place where they need to dress up, wear sneakers or running shoes on the way and then change shoes upon arrival. If it’s particularly warm out, it might even be wise to pack a set of work clothes into a bag and leave a little extra time to change once you get there.

Walk to Work Day helps you reduce carbon emissions, add some healthy movement to the day, and generally appreciate the world more. So get out there and get to steppin’!

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