Laura Trott is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Sevenoaks & Swanley and was first elected in December 2019. She is here to help the community, regardless of how you voted, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Over the past couple of years, we’ve all come to appreciate the importance of walking. The first lockdown saw many of us value time spent in nature more than ever – and luckily for us we are surrounded my beautiful countryside right on our doorstep.
“Last month I joined the fantastic Every Step Counts team in Kemsing, to take part in one of their expertly organised walks. Every Step Counts is a brilliant initiative set up by District Councillor Irene Collins, with the support of Sevenoaks District Council Official. Each of their walks vary in time and distance, so as to accommodate people’s abilities, and initially will last around 30 minutes – although there are options to do more for those who wish to and are able.
“There are currently eight groups running across the constituency – which allow residents to come together for both friendship and fitness – so if you are interested in taking part, please do visit; walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder.
The physical health benefits from walking really cannot be over exaggerated. It can help prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions and diseases, including some cancers, heart disease and type 2. Physical inactivity is responsible for one in six UK deaths (equal to smoking) and is estimated to cost the UK £7.4 billion annually (including £0.9 billion to the NHS alone).
“However, what was also clear from joining the walkers in Kemsing, was that there are also wider mental wellbeing benefits to getting outside and moving – especially when with a friend. According to Walkers for Health, walking improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed and staying active helps those who are depressed recover. And, in older people, staying active can also improve cognitive function, memory, attention, and processing speed, and reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. And this is all from an activity which is free!
“As a Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Department for Transport, I have seen first-hand the dedication from the Government to introduce measures to incentivise active travel – walking and cycling. And locally, I am keen to ensure these activities are promoted and facilities improved, so residents can feel supported in opting for these options. Last year I launched a Transport survey – with particular focus on Otford. Views on cycling and improved infrastructure for cycling was a topic raised often in the responses, and I have since been speaking with Cllr Peter Fleming, Leader of Sevenoaks District Council (who is leading lots of fantastic work in this space) and local campaigners about possible future off road cycle lanes locally – something I am supportive of.
“A huge thank you to Martin, Yvonne and all the walkers at Kemsing’s Every Step Counts for making me feel so welcome and I hope you can all find fifteen minutes today to start reaping the rewards of a short walk.”