Walk patients to better health

By Louise Cameron  Communications & Marketing Officer www.pathsforall.org.uk.

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As a nation, Scotland is inactive, unfit and increasingly overweight or obese. The health of 1/3 of the Scottish population is at risk because they are not sufficiently active to benefit their health.

Currently 33% of men and 41% of women are not meeting the recommended levels of moderate intensity activity of 150 minutes each week (Scottish Health Survey, 2015).

At Paths for All, we believe that walking is the perfect activity to offer to patients, clients or staff teams. We are keen to work in partnership with health professionals to support you to get your client group more active.

There are lots of ways we can help to get your patients and clients more active: you could refer your patients to a local Health Walk, use our Pedometer Packs in your clinical setting, use our Strength and Balance resources, or set up a condition specific walking group.

There is a clear need for health professionals to work together to get more physical activity into more people’s lives, and walking is the cheapest and easiest means of tackling this, here’s why –

  • It’s free
  • It’s accessible to all
  • It’s within the physical capabilities of most people
  • If done as part of an organised Health Walk group, it combines physical activity with an opportunity for social contact and support
  • It can be enjoyed safely with a low risk of injury
  • It can encourage people to consider other aspects of their lifestyle e.g. healthy eating, stopping smoking and reducing stress

We support over 500 Health Walks taking place across Scotland every week. From Kirkwall to Galashiels, all Health Walks are free, accessible, fun, and open to everyone. We’ve trained thousands of volunteers to safely lead these health walks in local communities, so you can refer clients and patients with confidence. Use our Health Walk finder to find walks in your area.

The benefits of Health Walks are amazing. Here’s how some of our Health Walkers describe why they enjoy being part of a Health Walk:

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“I feel more relaxed and not so short of breath.”

 “Mind and body feel more alert and fitter!”

 “I do not walk on my own. I need the company and companionship of the group for encouragement.”

We’re also working with partners to develop cancer specific Health Walks, dementia friendly Health Walks and walking football sessions across Scotland. We want to ensure that everyone can access and enjoy the benefits of being more active, but we need your help to access individuals who could benefit the most from getting more active.

It’s not just patients that can benefit from the simple wonders of walking, how active are you and your team? If you’d like to feel fitter, less stressed and get to know colleagues better, we can help you set up a Workplace Walking project or sign up for our National Step Count Challenge and see where walking at work can take you! www.stepcount.org.uk

If you have any ideas or comments, or would like to do more to promote walking, we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at ahp@pathsforall.org.uk or give us a call on 01259 218 888.

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