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Aiming for good health in the Cairngorms National Park

11th October 2017

Want to walk but don’t want to walk alone? Keen to meet new people in the community but not sure where to start? Looking to feel fitter or happier but not sure working up a sweat in the gym is for you? Why not join a Health Walk? It doesn’t cost anything and all you have to do is put on your jacket and shoes and walk out the door!

There are over 20 health walk groups in and around the Cairngorms National Park – just waiting to welcome those of us who think we would benefit from being a bit more active.  Health Walks are short, safe, social, local, low level and participants are accompanied by a trained volunteer leader to show the way.

Mike Woolvin of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), who co-ordinates the Health Walk volunteers explained: “We’ve just had Wee Walks Week last month celebrating short local walks and we’re delighted to report that we had lots of people taking part. We want that momentum and enthusiasm for being active in the outdoors to continue and one of the easiest ways for people to do that is to join a Health Walk.

“Those already taking part say that it’s given them the chance to explore the outdoors more, that they feel better physically and that they particularly enjoy the social side of groups, always making time for a cup of tea and a blether at the end of the walk. And despite what some people may think – health walks are not for a particular age group – anyone can join in regardless of age or ability.”

Just 30 minutes walking a day is enough to make a significant difference to a person’s health. It is medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have a 30 per cent lower risk of early death and a huge reduction in the probability of getting diseases such as heart disease, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Studies have also shown the health benefits of volunteering. “There are over 60 trained Health Walk volunteers across the walking groups, and without the time and enthusiasm of those volunteers, the health walks would not happen”, said Mike.

“Volunteering is a great way to give something back to the local community, share your love of walking, help others to increase their confidence and abilities, or just to have fun! You would be part of a group of volunteers in your area, giving  as much or as little time as you like, and there’s lots of support and training available.  We would be keen to hear from anyone who would be interested in training as a volunteer walk leader to help expand the programme further, benefiting many more people.”

If you would like to know more information contact Mike on 01479 870566 or email: [email protected].