As we enter the month of May and daytime temperatures start to soar above the 10°C barrier, it is hard to believe that only 2 months ago we were in the grip of a blast of distinctly unpleasant weather, aka the "Beast from the East".
My colleague Lizzie has already blogged on the issue of winter weather and how other countries like Switzerland are better equipped to deal with these unseasonal conditions. Check out her blog here. At the height of the maelstrom, major roads were blocked and there were delays and cancellations on all forms of public transport across the UK. In Scotland, a "Red Alert" was issued for the first time ever with a "risk to life" warning and for people to avoid travel at all costs.
Some would call it committed, others just plain idiotic but, in the middle of the Red Alert (29th February), I decided to chuck the ski gear on and walk from my home in the South Side to our office on Queen Street. The streets were deserted with not a car or bus in sight.
Prior to The Beast on the 29th February, I had never even considered walking to work and assumed it much too far and tiring. However, the experience really opened my eyes to the possibilities and benefits of travelling into work on foot, as opposed to using my normal method of train travel. I arrived in the office feeling refreshed and clear-headed and felt less distracted and stressed than normal (!). It is known that there are a number of benefits from walking to work.
- Improving your level of fitness – walking briskly will increase your heart rate and breathing and ultimately your fitness levels. You'll also go some (or all) of your way to your daily 10,000 step target (if you're into this kind of stuff)
- Improved mental wellbeing – exercising is known to positively affect your mood but it can also help you become more mindful and in touch with your surroundings, far more so than standing staring at your phone on a train
- Lower Stress – studies have shown that individuals who switched from driving to work to cycling or walking felt more focused and less stressed at work than before
- Save money – the amount you save on petrol, public transport fares or even a gym membership can really add up and be used for other things
In spite of the obvious benefits of walking only 10% or commuting trips are on foot, 4% by bike and the vast majority of the remainder by car/ van (68%) and public transport (16%) (Department for Transport – Transport Statistics Great Britain 2015). This may be because many people, like myself, haven't even given the remotest possibility of walking or cycling to work, even though they may actually live within reach.
My colleague Arun has recently written an excellent blog on cycling to work which is building on the work of the Mattinson Partnership's Smarter Travel Team aim of promoting sustainable travel. Cycling affords similar benefits to walking. As summer approaches, why not consider ditching the car or the train (at least once!) and cycling or walking to work. You might see some benefits!
I joined the Glasgow office of the Mattinson Partnership in October 2012. I now have over 5 years' experience recruiting environmental, engineering and planning specialists across Scotland, the North of England and Ireland.
Prior to joining Mattinson Partnership, I worked within engineering consultancy providing specialist transport advice to local authorities, private developers, regional and national transport agencies across the UK. I was with Atkins for 5 years and gained extensive development planning experience, securing planning consent for retail, residential and commercial developments across Scotland. I have worked with a range of specialists in previous roles including transport planners, highways engineers, landscape architects, ecologists, EIA consultants and town planners which has helped me to better understand the needs of our candidates and clients operating in these sectors.
I have a BSc (Hons) in Geography from Bristol and am passionate about geography and the environment. I'm a dab hand on the capital cities round in the pub quiz but pretty useless on just about everything else! I'm sports daft and play football (which is daft at my age!), squash for Newlands LTC, as well as the odd game of golf (!) at my second home Prestwick GC in Ayrshire.