The Walk for Health scheme is run by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support. By sharing their walking and health expertise they enable some 600 schemes to offer short, free, local health walks in communities across England. The partnership demonstrates both organisations ambition to help more people, including those affected by cancer, discover the joys and health benefits of walking.
The concept of health walks began with Dr William Bird, an Oxfordshire GP who started running short walks for patients from his surgery in 1995. In 2000, Walk for Health was launched by the Countryside Agency and in 2006 was transferred to its successor Natural England. Now, around 3,400 weekly walks are led by over 10,000 friendly, specially trained volunteers. The walks are short and over easy terrain, and are open to everyone but are especially aimed at those who are least active. The walks last between 30-90 minutes: ideal for those who may be taking up walking, or recovering from illness or injury.
The local Walk for Health scheme in Mole Valley includes walks on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, starting from either Dorking, Denbies, Brockham, Bookham Common or Leatherhead. They are always keen for more volunteers to expand their programme so if you are enthusiastic about walking, would like to help others get active and can give one morning, afternoon or evening a week then why not get in touch? Walks can take place anywhere in Mole Valley, during the daytime or evening and are a great way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
Group walking provides many benefits. To quote from a review of the scheme published in 2013: “Walking for Health provides opportunities for participants to meet new people and form new friendships. This is the top motivator for many participants. This social aspect of health walks also contributes to improving participants’ mental health and wellbeing. A recognised barrier to physical activity is not having someone to get active with, and a key way of overcoming that is the opportunity to socialise and meet new people.”
For those who have enjoyed these shorter group walks, and would like to try something a bit longer, look here to find out more about the walks programme for Mole Valley Ramblers ... We are surrounded by the most wonderful walking country, and you will find led group walks of between 5 and 12 miles on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. New walkers are always welcome.