“There's a national obesity crisis but research shows that small changes like this can make a huge difference to your physical and psychological wellbeing.”
Dr Liz Boath, Associate Professor in Health
Staff, students, partners and community members are being encouraged to back away from their desks and step into a work-free zone once a week.
Dr Liz Boath, Associate Professor in Health at Staffordshire University, has launched the Midweek Mile, a weekly walk around Hanley Park every Wednesday.
She explained, “Too many of us spend our lunch break sat at a computer and it's not healthy. There's a national obesity crisis but research shows that small changes like this can make a huge difference to your physical and psychological wellbeing.”
Last year, researchers from the University, working with the European PHENOTYPE project, discovered that spending time in green spaces has a beneficial impact on both physical and mental health.
Dr Chris Gidlow explained, “We found that if you take a short walk in a natural environment it can benefit your mood, reduce stress levels and increase cognitive function. If you take a walk on your lunch break, the effects of this will last for at least 30 minutes after you return to your desk, which means you’ll be better at performing complex tasks in your job.”
Another recent study co-authored by Research Associate Graham Smith, with members of the IPEN network, discovered that people who live in 'walkable' urban environments, with features like public parks, are more physically active than residents in areas which don't.
Liz commented, “All of this research shows just how important it is that we take a break and make the most of our parks and green spaces.”
“The Midweek Mile is a chance to clear your head and go back to work feeling refreshed. Plus it's an opportunity to socialise and meet new people - the only rule is that all office talk is left at the park gates!”
At this week's session 'Walk Doctor' Sarah Atkinson from the Living Streets charity will also be on hand to lead short walks and offer personal walking advice.
As well as the Midweek Mile, Liz also suggests that members of staff swap indoor appointments in favour of 'walking meetings' outside.
“Stoke-on-Trent is the 2016 European City Sport which is all about encouraging people to lead more healthy lifestyles and this is a simple way to do that.”
The Midweek Mile takes place in Hanley Park every Wednesday, leaving from the Brindley Building foyer at 12.00pm, or meeting at the Boughey Road park entrance at 12.05pm.
It is open to everyone, so please stroll over and join us.
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