Several of the walks in this year’s programme are led by ‘Guildford Walking for Health’. I can hear you mutter ‘’all walking is healthy, what is so special about these ones?’’
Well, Walking for Health is the largest network of group health walks nationwide, and it is one of the little pleasures in our society that you can go on a free, volunteer-led, walk almost everywhere. Every GP should be able to recommend a local community walk for those patients who need it most.
The walks are all led by volunteer walk leaders trained by the Ramblers organisation.
Thousands of people across the country are out doing health walks, making new friends and leading more active lifestyles. The walks are led by friendly volunteers who are on hand to provide encouragement and support, making sure no one gets left behind. Walks tend to be about an hour, sometimes a bit longer, with the option to do a shorter walk. Back markers walk in the rear at the pace of the slowest walkers. The walks tend to be over easy terrain, open to everyone, but are especially aimed at those who are least active.
Walking has so many benefits: it helps keep weight down, and can also help to control blood-sugar levels, reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke; it lowers blood pressure, increases life expectancy and reduces pain for people with arthritis. It is the perfect antidote for loneliness. Walking makes you feel better, relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety, particularly walking in green spaces. Walking in a group gives you a sense of belonging.
These short walks are also a perfect introduction to those who are not in the habit of walking and want a gentle introduction to spending time out in the open air and wonderful scenery that we have around Guildford.
You may notice that several of the walks have different contacts and meeting points. Guildford Walking for Health has a number of walk groups around Guildford, with walks on various weekday mornings.
So choose your location and convenient dates and head along to enjoy their friendly company. Well-behaved dogs on short leads are welcome to join in too!