Reasons to ditch your wheels for World Carfree Day

Published: Friday 22nd September 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Today is World Carfree Day, which is organised annually by the Carfree Network. It encourages drivers to give up their cars for one day each year.

The campaign hopes to inspire motorists to think twice before they hop into the car and see the event as a chance for a lifestyle overhaul.

Whilst we recognise that, for many, owning a vehicle is a modern day essential, it is also true that a lot of us could be doing more to reduce our carbon footprint and fit more exercise into our days. If you’re looking to make this positive change in your life, this article could be for you.

Walking or cycling to get from A to B is an excellent way of incorporating some light exercise into your daily routine. Even opting for the bus instead of a car can mean that you’re more mobile – you may have to walk a greater distance to and from your stop than you would to your motor.

What’s more, exercise has been proven to not only improve physical health but also mental wellbeing.

According to the NHS, even a 15-minute walk can do wonders to help clear your mind and relax. Meanwhile, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that individuals with mild to moderate depression take part in about three weekly walking sessions of 45-60 minutes.

In the long run, using your car less will minimise the amount of harmful emissions in the air. It has been found that air pollution is linked to 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK. Fine particle air pollution alone is answerable for 29,000 early fatalities. Combine this with the effects of toxic nitrogen dioxide gas, and you have a very scary figure.

And of course, reducing the amount that you use your car can also lessen our impact on the environment. The same pollution that is damaging to our bodies has been connected as a contributor to climate change.

In the short-term, you’ll more than likely see a difference in your bank balance. Walking, cycling or even choosing public transport will mean that less of your hard-earned cash is spent on fuel and maintenance of your car.

Additionally, small changes in your everyday regime can really help to create impactful change in your own life, as well as those around you. At first, set yourself achievable goals. Perhaps start by committing to walking to work one or two days a week. You might find that you love skipping the stress of traffic and congestion and appreciate the time you get to spend outdoors.

If you’re walking or cycling, be sure to look up an interesting and scenic route that you will enjoy and look forward to using. You can do this by using an app like Google Maps. A lot of people also find it easier to commit to a new habit when they have some accountability. Get your friends involved and walk or cycle to work together.

In the meantime, if it’s impossible to not drive to a destination, think about car sharing. Organising a car share with your colleges will mean fewer vehicles on the roads and you will still benefit from some of the perks mentioned above.

If you would like to find out more about World Carfree Day and the Carfree Network, please visit their website.

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Published: Friday 22nd September 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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