Walking for health

There is no doubt about it that walking is good for you. It’s good for your heart, it’s good for your lungs, it's good for your overall mental and physical well-being.  It's also free so no need for expensive gym membership or specialist equipment.  Plus of course, the Cotswolds is one of England's most beautiful landscapes, so where better to enjoy a healthy walk in the countryside?

Why is walking so good?

Walking has been described as the ideal form of physical activity.
* It can be done by almost anyone, anywhere, at any time.
* It makes you feel good, reduces stress and helps you to relax and sleep better.
* Walking two miles per day has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack by 28%.
* Regular walking can help you to lose weight - up to 14lbs in 3 months, in some cases.
* You use roughly the same number of calories whether you walk or jog the same distance.

Walking at any pace has the following benefits:
* Improves muscle strength, gives you more energy and increases stamina
* Improves your mood and increases confidence
* Increases good cholesterol and helps to reduce weight
* Helps to prevent diabetes
* Reduces risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and some cancers

Walking at a brisk pace also:
* improves the functioning of heart and lungs
* reduces blood pressure

Whether you want to walk to improve your general health, to keep fit, to control your weight, or perhaps to recover from a period of ill-health, walking can help. It is something that can be done with children or older family members, it need cost you nothing, and can fit in with any lifestyle, income bracket, culture or domestic circumstance.

Many local authorities and organisations offer regular walks with fully trained leaders to help you get started.  The following links provide further details of Walking for Health walks throughout the Cotswolds and surrounding area:

Cotswold Walkers

Health walks in West Oxfordshire

Strolling in Stroud

Stroud Valleys Project organises walks for people with hearing and sight impairments

Wiltshire Walking for Health

Cheltenham Walk Well programme

Fresh Air Fridays (with Life Guiding UK)

The Cotswold Voluntary Wardens organise many guided walks throughout the Cotswolds all year round.  These walks vary in distance and difficulty but many of them are easy, short walks aimed ideal for all abilities. 
Click here to search for an easy guided walk.

Further information and links:

Walks on Wheels - downloadable walking routes aimed at people in wheelchairs, mobility scooters and with buggies.

NHS Walking For Health

Walking for Health