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Walking Wonders: Linking Walking to Your Wellbeing

Published on 13 May 2024 09:38 AM

Not only is it National Walking Month, but this week it is also #mentalhealthawareness week.

We want to look at the link between walking and our wellbeing, and how you can utilise walking to improve your wellbeing.

Mental wellbeing is related to how you feel about yourself and being able to feel happy and present in the moment. It’s often related to our thought processes and the way we see the world, as well as the way we view ourselves.

Similarly, social wellbeing involves a lot of similar aspects of mental wellbeing but places a particular emphasis on looking at our relationships and connections. Lots of people feel increasingly isolated in the world, particularly since a lot of our communication is now done via digital channels rather than face-to-face. It is therefore imperative that we continue to find ways to make meaningful social connections that are not just confined to a screen.

Through walking, whether that’s a 20-minute stroll, a brisk half hour-walk or an extended hike, you have the chance to improve your overall wellbeing. Here are just a few of the many benefits:


Keeping you fit

Walking physically benefits you by increasing your heart rate and getting the blood pumping - contributing to essential cardiovascular exercise that you need to keep fit and healthy.


Switch off

Mentally, it allows you to switch off from the noise of our digital world and take in the sights, sounds and smells around you. This is a great technique to use when out on a walk as it can help to ground you and enable you to feel present, which is a key asset in helping us to achieve a state of positive wellbeing.


Lower your risk of developing dementia

A study by JAMA Research has found that people who walk just 3,800 steps per day (about two miles) are around 25% less likely to develop dementia. This percentage increases with further steps. There are also benefits for those living with dementia as walking can slow down the progression of the disease.


The Social side

Finally, walking can also be a great boost to your social wellbeing. On a walk, you have the chance to interact with lots of people along the way, or you could even go for regular walks with a friend and use it as a calming period to catch up with each other.

Better yet, why not join a local walking group to make new connections and socialise with even more people - groups like this are great for forming a habit of walking and holding each other accountable, all while getting a plethora of physical and mental health benefits.

Don’t take our word for it, hear from our walking group leader, Hilary:

“The group is really important from the walking and health side, but equally just as much from a social side. Everybody really enjoys meeting up and having a chat and it’s something to look forward to each week.”

Age UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire have several groups across the two counties, set up for walking and socialising, which include the Lower Wick Walkers, Ledbury Walk and Talk and Hereford Walking Group. More information about these groups and all the activities available can be found at

Why not challenge yourself to go on as many walks as you can this week and note down any thoughts or feelings that present themselves when you’re on the walks.

This can be a great tool for understanding how we’re feeling internally, and combined with the endorphin boost from the exercise of walking it can really help you to feel mentally and physically refreshed.

So, with such a host of benefits to wellbeing and a multitude of beautiful places to walk, what’s stopping you from getting out there to #WalkThisMay?