Walking towards wellbeing and better climate

Published: 4.8.2022 13.02
A man walking in front of Dipoli.
Walking can be combined with other mobility modes, such as public transport.Photo: Anna Valli

Walking is a natural form of transport for human beings, and it often completements other modes. Travelling on foot is a sustainable option for the climate and personal health. Traffic causes 35 per cent of Espoo’s greenhouse emissions and, therefore, the proportion of sustainable mobility modes must be increased. Our goal is to become carbon neutral by 2030. Private individuals can reduce emissions by choosing sustainable mobility modes, such as walking, cycling and public transport.

Walking as part of a commute 

Not everyone can walk to work, but many individuals are able to commute by combining different modes of transport. Some parts of a commute can be walked and the rest completed by public transport, for example. Additionally, getting off shortly before your actual stop is an easy way to increase the number of steps you take in a day, and every added step improves your health.  

Since many of us continue to work remotely, at least to some extent, the amount of exercise we get may have reduced as we are no longer commuting to work. However, you could try carrying out any remote meetings or phone calls while walking. Alternatively, you could include a walk to your morning routine before you start working. And if you do commute, walking at least part of the way back home may help you relax and recover.      

Walking routes and nearby natural areas inspire us to walk 

The Waterfront Walkway offers a beautiful view of the sea.Photo: Tuire Ruokosuo

Most of Espoo’s residential neighbourhoods are close to nature. Local nature and green areas right next to homes attract many people to become physically active. The small muscles on our feet get extra training when we walk in forests and on footpaths, in addition to which nature declutters the mind. Walking in a natural environment is refreshing, promotes mental wellbeing and improves cognitive functions, such as concentration skills and memory.   

The city’s many recreational routes provide a great setting for walkers with a range of needs. For example, Espoo’s Waterfront Walkway has a number of accessible sections.  

Travelling on foot allows us to observe the urban and natural landscapes close up. Local nature and recreational areas offer the residents places to perform hobbies, meet others and discover new things. You can also get to know your surroundings and your area’s specific features by taking an urban walk(extrernal link). The urban walks are a collection of mapped routes that illustrate the history, present day, nature, culture and notable figures of various neighbourhoods.  

The metropolitan region’s Service Map(extrernal link) contains outdoor and walking routes of various lengths around Espoo. 

Trips and walking events for all age groups 

The City of Espoo organises a large number of events that involve walking. You can visit the city’s natural areas by taking part in guided nature walks, for example. The Nature House Villa Elfvik organises family nature walks(extrernal link), during which even the youngest family members can learn about nature, e.g. a forest or the world of insects, in an enjoyable and informative way. The excursions are done at a pace that is comfortable for children and they include a stop for snacks. 

Seniors can enjoy organised shopping centre walks and historical excursions(extrernal link), which are a combination of exercise, social encounters and learning new things. 

Zoning walks have been arranged in many of Espoo’s neighbourhoods to illustrate their zoning plans at the physical locations. These walks allow the residents to ask questions and discuss the plan proposals for their local areas with the City’s experts. 

  • Climate
  • Sustainability
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