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Active Ageing Bristol and plans for WalkFest 2021

Published on 09 February 2021 04:21 PM

‘’The potential benefits of physical activity to health are huge. If medication existed which had a similar effect, it would be regarded as a wonder drug or miracle cure.’’ Chief Medical Officers Report.

Karen Lloyd is the manager for Active Ageing Bristol (AAB), a programme that merged with Age UK Bristol in autumn of last year. Karen is passionate about exercise and encouraging older people to get more active more often.

“Getting active, and staying active as we age is so important.” Says Karen. “It’s good for our physical well-being – helping to reduce the risk of developing conditions like depression, heart disease and dementia, but it’s also good for our mental well-being as often exercising is an opportunity to socialise and connect with our wider community.” Although many group sports and activities are on hold for the time being, you can still get the benefit of taking part in exercise classes by joining a telephone or online session.

In lockdown, and particularly this third lockdown in the winter months, many people have struggled to stay active as they spend more time indoors. The way Karen has kept active during lockdown has been lots of walks in her local area, and completing the NHS ‘Couch to 5K’ challenge. “Even a little bit of exercise can make a big difference.” Karen says, “Do what you can, and just move and keep moving!”

Walking is often overlooked as a form of exercise, but brisk walking can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier. For the last few years, AAB has coordinated the delivery of Bristol Walkfest – a month long festival in May dedicated to walking. Sadly, the 2020 festival had to be cancelled but plans are underway for a 2021 re-launch of the festival.

This year, Karen is working with Bristol City Council on an exciting new partnership with app developers, Go Jauntly. Go Jauntly is a free community-based App which promotes walking and wayfinding; the app will be used as a part of WalkFest to map local walks across Bristol. The aim of the partnership is to bring together a host of walks from different communities, organisations and individuals across Bristol, providing a platform for Bristolians to explore more walks in their area. The walks can be separated into categories and themes e.g. history, family-friendly, disability-friendly, short walks etc. so that anyone (with any level of fitness) can take part.

Karen says, ‘’I am so excited to be back working on WalkFest 2021. The event is one of the largest urban walking festivals in the UK. The fact we are linking up with Go Jauntly to launch a new free walking app at the same time, will hopefully make this year’s programme bigger and better than ever, whilst remaining compliant with Covid-19 restrictions.’’

Karen will be speaking at an online event on 23rd February introducing the app and informing users how to add walks. You can find out more and register your space here.  

For updates on Walkfest 2021, keep your eye on our social media accounts and the WalkFest website!

[Karen out walking with her dog.]

Active Ageing Bristol is an initiative founded and funded by St Monica Trust and The Anchor Society, hosted by Age UK Bristol, with support from Bristol Public Health.