It’s healthy, fun and free – and there’s no better time to start - Get Walking Lanarkshire has just been launched to encourage more people to get outdoors and enjoy the many benefits of walking.
Run by North and South Lanarkshire Councils and their leisure trusts, NHS Lanarkshire and Paths for All, the initiative aims to improve the health and well-being of local residents of all ages.
“More and more evidence is showing that taking part in outdoor activities and having contact with nature can provide significant benefits for people’s physical and mental health,” explains Johann Duffy, the initiative’s health walk co-ordinator.
“We are developing a programme of free health walks around Lanarkshire, which make the most of our local environment and encourage people to be fitter and healthier. By walking with others, it’s also a very sociable activity that helps our general well-being.”
Health walks are free, short, friendly group walks for all ages and abilities and led by trained volunteers. There are also opportunities for people to train as volunteer walk leaders, helping local groups to take up walking and keep healthy.
“Improving the health and well-being of our residents is a key objective for the council, and Get Walking Lanarkshire will help us and our partners achieve this,” said Councillor Helen McKenna, convener of the environmental services committee at North Lanarkshire Council.
“Walking is the simplest way to include exercise in our daily lives, and with fantastic parks and paths across Lanarkshire, there’s plenty of places to enjoy a walk at your own pace.”
Regular physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of early death, help control weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some types of cancer and a host of other conditions. It helps maintain good mental health, keeps your brain active and lowers risk of hip fractures. Walking is a perfect start for people who wish to ease themselves in, and build up their fitness.
Gabe Docherty, health promotion manager for NHS Lanarkshire said: “We know that being active really helps our physical and mental health both in terms of staying well and recovering from physical and mental health problems.
“These benefits are even greater when the activity is outdoors and even greater still when we connect with other people. Walking is free and adds great value to our Well Connected programme which aims to make it easier for all of us have access to opportunities to protect and improve our physical and mental health. Let’s all Get Walking Lanarkshire.”
Ian Findlay, chief officer of Paths for All said: “As the Scottish charity that champions everyday walking in Scotland, Paths for All want to get people walking: everyone, everywhere and every day.
“Walking is the easiest, cheapest and simplest way for everyone to get the 30 minutes of every day physical activity they need to stay healthy.”
For more information on Get Walking Lanarkshire, email Johann Duffy at firstname.lastname@example.org.