People in Scotland are walking more since lockdown began compared to other parts of the UK.
According to a YouGov opinion survey, 61 per cent of Scots say they walk more now than they did before the Coronavirus restrictions came into place, the highest of any other region.
The study has been welcomed by Scotland’s walking charity Paths for All, which says now is the perfect time to experience the physical and mental benefits of a simple walk.
The charity is also marking Mental Health Awareness Week by launching a new podcast episode that helps people unwind while they walk.
Ian Findlay CBE, Chief Officer at Paths for All said: “Walking has never held such importance to our physical – and in particular – our mental health, so it is great to see walking becoming more popular.
“Many people are feeling more anxious than usual right now and walking is an easy way to reduce stress and anxiety while also keeping us physically fit.
“Just a 30-minute daily walk is one of the best ways to look after your physical and mental health and, as it’s something we can do from our own front door, it fits in perfectly with permitted reasons to leave our homes.
“We also think it’s important that people get the greatest benefit from their walks so, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve added another guided walking meditation track to our Mind to Walk podcast series.”
Mind to Walk was launched earlier this month with the help of DJ and presenter Edith Bowman to help people relax their minds as they moved their feet.
The latest Mind to Walk podcast episode helps locked-down listeners take an imaginative journey by helping them to escape to their favourite location. Listeners are encouraged to think of their favourite holiday, childhood memory or regular route they are currently unable to visit.
The calming series of audios has been welcomed by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).
Robert Nesbitt, Head of Physical Activity and Sport at SAMH, said: “We know that participating in physical activity can improve confidence, self-esteem, and mood; but it can be difficult for people to be active in the current circumstances.
“Walking is accessible and something that most of us can participate in. It’s great that Paths for All are making this easier for people with the fantastic Mind to Walk podcast.”
Physical activity has been proven to help 18 per cent of people with their mental wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic, with other activities such as household chores, appreciating nature or getting outside and relaxation techniques also playing a big impact.
Paths for All believes regular walking is key to leading a happy and healthy life, and it’s even more important for people to continue enjoying short, local walks where it is safe and appropriate to do so with to the huge array of associated benefits.
Paths for All’s aim is to significantly increase the number of people who choose to walk in Scotland, whether it’s walking for leisure or walking to work, school or to the shops.
The charity works to create more opportunities and better environments not just for walking, but also for cycling and other activities to help make Scotland a more active, more prosperous and greener country.