Join Merseytravel and partners at Avenue HQ on Monday 15th January from 7.00am as they launch a new campaign to encourage people across the Liverpool City Region to walk and cycle to work.
Liverpool City Region transport chiefs are launching a new campaign to promote the health and wellbeing benefits of walking and cycling to work on ‘Blue Monday’, the UK’s ‘saddest day’ of the year.
International studies* have shown that people who cycle or walk to work are more satisfied with their commute, less likely to have days off sick and feel less stressed.
The launch of the first ‘Arrive Happy’ campaign will take place at Avenue HQ, Mann Island from 7.00am on Monday 15th January where walkers, cycling groups, mental health campaigners, health experts, local businesses and academics will be on hand to explain how walking or cycling for just 10 minutes a day as part of your commute to work, can help to lift your mood, give you more energy, reduce your stress levels and help you sleep better, too.
Many of the volunteers will be on hand on Monday to talk about the small changes they have made to their daily commutes to improve their health and wellbeing and share their top tips for getting started.
NHS guidelines recommend that adults aged 19-64 should aim to be active for 150 minutes a week, which may sound like a lot at first but can be achieved by making short local journeys on foot or by bike such as getting off the bus a stop earlier and walking for 10 minutes or cycling to the station instead of taking the car.
The message to Liverpool City Region’s thousands of commuters is simple – ‘Start small and see how far you can go.’
Simona from Kensington walks 40 minutes to work.
“When I get up I’m not a happy person, but I walk to work, pick up a coffee on the way and when I arrive at work I’m clear-headed and the happy person I want to be.”
Carole and Paula from Maghull walk home from work together once or twice a week.
“We realised we both went walking outside of work, so we started walking after work, then we thought we could combine travelling home with our walk. It’s part of being healthy and it means our exercise is done when we get home.
“We’re both fitter. But it’s about mental health too, when you feel low or down, the best thing to do is put your shoes and coat on and off you pop – we always feel loads better.”
Cllr Liam Robinson chair of The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee, which oversees the work of Merseytravel says,
‘To date, Merseytravel has invested £3.5 million in making cycling a more viable option in the city centre, as a result the number of people getting around by bike has already increased by 10%. We want these numbers to continue to climb and for businesses and residents to see walking and cycling as a positive travel option.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region says,
“Arrive Happy is an imaginative and innovative campaign that supports two of my key pledges – to support green sustainable travel and promote better health and mental well-being. Walking and cycling for 30 minutes a day can be both personally rewarding and socially beneficial. It’s also true that a happier and healthier work-force is also going to be more productive and motivated. These are small changes in life-style with potential to deliver big and life-changing impacts.”
Sandra Gilbert, CEO of Mind Wirral says,
““It is widely recognised that physical exercise really benefits our mental wellbeing. Start small because everyday changes to your physical activity really do count. If you start walking or cycling to work one day a week then celebrate your achievements. And if you need to speak to someone about a mental health issue contact your local services for information and support”..”
Jane Rickwood, Project Coordinator (Merseyside), Living Streets says,
“Fitting exercise into our day can be tough, especially for those with busy lives. But walking to work is an easy way to get more active. Even a short, brisk walk can have fantastic benefits. It ensures we get out in the fresh air, socialise and get some exercise – all of which will help to counter the winter blues and make a big difference to our health.”
* Merseytravel’s ‘Activate your people’ document will be available on Monday 15th January