For this week’s blog post, we asked Stuart Douglas, Paths for All’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Manager, to share why walking more is not only a great way of feeling happier and healthier, it’s good for the planet too.

“The benefits of replacing car journeys with walking have never been clearer.  In Scotland, transport emissions are the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions, the principal cause of climate change. Cars contribute 60% of all road transport emissions. Yet 18% of all transport journeys are under 1 km long and a further 23% are between 1 and 3 km. These distances are easily walkable for many people. Why not use the Step Count Challenge as a way to challenge yourself to ditch the car for those short journeys?”

During last year's spring #StepCountChallenge, over 2 billion steps were recorded, the equivalent of 896,106 miles. Driving the same distance in a car would emit 273 tonnes of greenhouse gases - that's 21½ double decker buses!

During last year’s spring #StepCountChallenge, over 2 billion steps were recorded, the equivalent of 896,106 miles. Driving the same distance in a car would emit 273 tonnes of greenhouse gases – that’s 21½ double decker buses!

“If climate chaos is not enough to make you leave your car behind, then what about all the latest research demonstrating that car fumes contribute to heart disease, asthma, and strokes? More recent research is pointing to air pollution’s negative impact on brain function. Whilst this may inspire pedestrians to keep away from roads altogether, it appears that those who are impacted the most by the fumes are car drivers themselves.  So by replacing your car journeys by walking, not only will you make yourself fitter, but your brain, lungs and heart will benefit even more by not being in  a car.   And of course, less cars on the road means less congestion, which means less pollution, which means a healthier everyone.”

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“Why not take it a step further and start using public transport for your longer journeys? Using buses and trains nearly always starts and finishes with a walk, so it’s an ideal way to build physical activity into your daily life. If you are already a bus user you can increase your step count by getting off or on a stop (or two) earlier.”

Join in the spring Step Count Challenge this year and see how many short journeys you can ditch the car for – and don’t forget to share your pictures with us using #StepCountChallenge on twitter and instagram!