Why walking to work can fight Vitamin D deficiency, diabetes and cancer

Walking has many benefits to our health, less frequently discussed though is how much it helps us remain positive and happy. In fact, walking has been shown to reduce depression by 20 per cent.

It’s more important than ever to walk in the winter months when we tend to travel to work in the dark and go home in the dark. This significant reduction in exposure to natural daylight can upset our body clock to such a degree that the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), such as lethargy, low mood and anxiety, can creep in. The lack of vitamin D, which our bodies produce in response to sunlight, can make you even more sluggish.

A quick and easy way to help with this is to fit some walking into your day. If you’re office based then walking the last part of your journey to work will give you some exposure to the day’s limited natural light. If walking your commute isn’t possible, then try a lunchtime walk or a walking meeting; it will stimulate endorphins which will reduce feelings of stress and significantly boost your happiness and productivity levels. It’s no wonder that active people are 30 per cent less likely to feel distressed.

Not getting enough vitamin D in the winter months can result in bone pain and tenderness. This, along with muscle weakness, is most often associated with vitamin D deficiency but experts have suggested that low levels of vitamin D can also raise your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. A walk in the winter sun could boost your vitamin D levels and reduce the risk of these chronic conditions, plus enhance bone density and keeps your joints mobile.

Getting walking is easy with Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking. Living Streets is partnering with the City of London Corporation to offer Walk Doctor sessions to City businesses.

These are walking consultation sessions for employees, where they will be given one to one bespoke advice around physical activity and encouraged to pledge to fit more walking into their day in a realistic way.

Walk Doctor sessions can be arranged to take place at your workplace (usually in a canteen or reception area), to coincide with an internal event, or just as a standalone intervention.

Walk Doctor typically cost £2000 but is available free, thanks to the City of London’s support.

Please get in touch with wei.du@livingstreets.org.uk to arrange an informal chat about walking to work or the Walk Doctor sessions.


Wei Du

Project Coordinator for London at Living Streets, the national charity that stands up for pedestrians, working with communities to create safe, attractive, enjoyable streets where it's great to walk. I am delivering Living Streets' Service Level Agreement work around public realms, transport and health for the London Borough of Southwark, the City of London, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, as well as other smaller pieces of work with other organisations and local authorities.