Walk your way to health and happiness with new group walks

A new timetable of weekly  health walks has been launched by Active Northumberland offering  plenty of opportunities to explore Northumberland’s  beautiful countryside through the seasons.

The group walks are free, vary in  length - from short, intermediate and long -  and are open to everyone  They are led by friendly, trained volunteers who are on hand to provide encouragement and support and help people enjoy the many physical and mental health benefits that regular walking brings.

Walking is a low impact exercise that has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia,
stroke and some cancers.  While getting out in the fresh air with friends can help combat loneliness and depression.

David Gregory, health walk co-ordinator for Active Northumberland said:

Going for regular walks is one of the best and easiest things you can do for your health.  Most of us know that we should be trying to walk 10,000 steps a day but getting active can be difficult especially if you’ve had problems with your health. Yet walking could make all the difference - even if you are not feeling your best.  Some of our  walks are very gentle and last just 30 minutes to encourage new walkers and those with long term health conditions to  feel more confident in getting started.

“ It’s really easy to get involved. Just  turn up a few minutes before the start of a walk. You'll have great company, trained walk leaders and safe walking routes to get you on your way to healthier lifestyle.”

The new programme of walks runs from January - June 2018 and covers routes  in the north, west and south eastern corners of the county throughout  winter, spring and early summer.

Bill Godfrey from Blyth is 78 years old and regularly  walks with both the Blyth and Ashington Health Walk groups. Bill suffered a heart attack  last September and as a result had two stents fitted to improve his blood flow. He was back walking with both groups within weeks of his operation.

Bill said: “'The walks are a great way to make sure you get out and about, get some exercise and meet new people as well as old friends. I believe that because I have walked regularly, it has helped me recover quickly and return to the quality of life I had before my illness.”

Northumberland County Councillor Cath Homer, cabinet member with responsibility for leisure said:
“ In many ways walking is the perfect prescription. It’s good for our health, it’s a great mood-booster and a great way for people to get more exercise into their busy lives. Our group walks also offer people a great opportunity to explore their local area,  meet new people and make more friends. I would encourage anyone who may be interested to  give Health Walks a try!”

If you fancy giving it a go  -  all you need is a pair of comfortable shoes  with good grip and support for your feet. If it's a hot day  make sure you take a bottle of water and a waterproof or umbrella will come in very handy if rain is forecast.

To view a timetable of walks in your area log on to ww.activenorthumberland.org.uk/Activities.aspx and search health walks under the A-Z activity section.

Many libraries, GP surgeries and council contact centres hold a supply of printed programmes.  If you would like more information about health walks in Northumberland please contact David on  DGregory@activenorthumberland.org.uk or 07860504763



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