6,000 Climate Activists Block 5 London Bridges, Demand Urgent Action
On Saturday, More than 6,000 climate activists shut down five bridges in Central London. The protest, organized under the banner of Extinction Rebellion to call for urgent action on climate change, was the first to intentionally block the bridges "in living memory," the group reported.
The mood was festive as demonstrators from around London held the bridges—Waterloo, Blackfriars, Southwark, Lambeth and Westminster—from around 10 a.m. to well into the afternoon. Extinction Rebellion had been building to Saturday's "Rebellion Day" since it launched itself into the public consciousness a little over two weeks ago by blocking traffic outside London's Parliament Square. The group hopes to pressure the government into increased climate action by using non-violent civil disobedience. Eighty-two were arrested during Saturday's demonstration, BBC News confirmed.
⚠️❗️Because of the #ExtinctionRebellion demo: Lambeth, Westminster, Watelroo, Blackfriars and Southwark Bridges are… https://t.co/mncMOzJlqo— BBC London Travel (@BBC London Travel)1542454437.0
"Because the last two governments have rolled back significant policies which would have helped the UK reduce its carbon dioxide emissions," Margot Gibbs, a 30-year-old journalist from North London, told EcoWatch when asked why she was there. "And because a massive change is required."
Specifically, the group is calling for the UK government to institute policies that will allow the country to reach carbon neutrality by 2025, and to create a "Citizens' Assembly" to oversee those radical changes.
Saturday's protest wrapped up at 5:30 p.m. with a tree-planting ceremony in Parliament Square, according to Extinction Rebellion. A crowd of around 3,000 watched as an apple, plum and evergreen tree were planted just outside where the UK government meets. But that isn't the end for the growing movement. Organizers are calling for people to join them back at the square next Saturday for "Rebellion Day 2."
✊#RebellionDay2✊ Saturday, November 24, 10 AM – 5 PM Parliament Square The #ExtinctionRebellion is bringing 1000s… https://t.co/Y6GcvN4vAy— Extinction Rebellion (@Extinction Rebellion)1542506298.0
EcoWatch spoke with some of the thousands who traveled from across England to "rebel for life," as one of the movement's slogans reads. They came from a variety of places and had a range of professions, but were united in their commitment to get their government to act now.
Hannah Van Den BrulOlivia Rosane
Hannah Van Den Brul (30), North London
Van Den Brul is a musician and a Suzuki violin teacher. She said simply that she was there "because we need change now." She added she was also there "for the children." As a music teacher, she works with children ages two and up.
Pedro Pereira (left) and Maria Rosa (right)Olivia Rosane
Maria Rosa (38) and Pedro Pereira (40), Oxfordshire
Maria and Pedro are both scientists, a biologist and a civil engineer respectively.
"Time is running out for us," Maria said. "The government needs to wake up and realize that we need to change or else everything is going to go down the toilet. And because economic [factors] are more important for the government, we need to start acting, we need to show that we care about our future and our planet."
Pereira added that, as a scientist, he was "shocked" by the fact that people didn't pay more attention to the vast scientific consensus documenting that human-caused climate change is happening. "A lot of people think that it's still an opinion when it's not," he said.
David HalliganOlivia Rosane
David Halligan (27), Manchester
Halligan, who works at a bank, said that he came to the march "basically because time is running out, and the havoc that climate change is going to wreak is unimaginable in many ways, so we have to make sure we act now."
Dee RiggsOlivia Rosane
Dee Riggs (38), Somerset
Riggs is a full-time mom who had come to London with her children, aged two and five, a day before the protest to fit in a visit to the Natural History Museum.
"I'm here for my children," she said, "marching in the hope of saving their future." She added that the fact of the "Rebellion Day" gave her hope, instilling "a feeling of relief that there might be something we could do after so long."
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Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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