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Time to walk the walk, says Cairngorms National Park Authority


By Tom Ramage

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"Never before has some form of daily exercise been so important," says the national park authority from its Grantown HQ.

With Wee Walks Week just around the corner, the CNPA is encouraging everyone to continue with the good habits established during the height of the coronavirus lockdown.

Wee Walks Week starts on Monday (21).

Despite the lack of formal, ranger-led walks and with only a few health walks back up and running the authority is instead organising a week of online inspiration and tips on how to make the most of being active daily in the UK’s largest national park.

I love to go a-wanderin'!
I love to go a-wanderin'!

Wee Walks Week began in 2016 as a celebration of the best short local walks in the park, aiming to encourage as many people as possible to get out and enjoy a walk with family, friends and colleagues.

Studies show that walking is an effective form of exercise – just 30 minutes a day is enough to make a significant difference to people's health.

It reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, and type two diabetes as well as keeping the musculoskeletal system healthy. Moreover, it promotes good mental health and wellbeing and can help tackle issues around social isolation

Xander McDade, CNPA board convener said: “We all know that walking every day is good for us physically but it is also hugely beneficial to our mental wellbeing. This has become particularly important, especially at the height of the lockdown.

"Being able to get out – even just once a day – for a walk allowed us to escape the confines of our homes and provided some essential breathing space away from the stress and worry of juggling life and finances in lockdown.

“For this Wee Walks Week we’re encouraging people to continue with that daily exercise for their physical health and for their mental health.

"This might not seem easy as we approach the winter months and the weather isn’t so nice but the benefits will speak for themselves.”

Pete Crane, the park's head of visitor services, commented: “Wee Walks Week is a great opportunity for us to promote the wide range of low level paths we have in and around our communities and we hope it offers people take the opportunity to enhance their own health and well-being.

“With 666 miles of core paths and 17 community path leaflets to choose from there is lots of choice.

"We know that particular areas have been extremely busy over the summer but there really is room for everyone to continue with the daily walks that have become so important during lockdown. Why not set yourself a challenge to see how many new low level walks you can experience during Wee Walks Week and tell us all about it by sharing your stories on social media using #WeeWalksWeek?

"If you are looking for inspiration on where to go for a walk check out the community path leaflets online."

For more information about Wee Walks Weekfollow @cairngormsnews and @CNPactive on Facebook and Twitter for daily inspiration and suggestions.

"And don’t forget to share your photos on social media using #WeeWalksWeek"

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