The Scottish Government and COSLA have launched the 2014 National Walking Strategy to boost physical activity and save lives across the country.
This morning (13 June) Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, launched the Strategy as he was joined by school children and walkers at the Helix in Falkirk to take part in the Commonwealth Big Fit Walk.
A Working Group made up of members from various organisations across Scotland developed the Strategy’s vision to create a Scotland where everyone benefits from walking as part of their everyday journeys, enjoys walking in the outdoors and where places are well-designed to encourage walking.
Cabinet Secretary for Sport, Shona Robison, said:
There are so many benefits from encouraging people across Scotland to walk more: it can contribute positively to areas such as mental and physical health, climate change, community empowerment, economic development, and tourism.
Walking is highly cost-effective and demonstrates that prevention really is better than cure. The health risks are stark – seven Scots die every day due to inactivity, often long before they have to. That is seven too many.
This is the year to get Scots more active, and embrace the truly beautiful walking routes we have available to us.
Scotland has outstanding opportunities for walking in both urban and rural areas. With its spectacular scenery, range of green spaces (including parks), walkable urban centres and metropolitan cities, community routes, long-distance route networks and its world-class access rights, Scotland has a unique set of ‘walking-friendly’ factors to entice people to the great outdoors.
To maximise the health benefits members of the Working Group agreed that attractive, well-designed places with signed routes, close to where people live and work, must be managed and developed, so that Scots will be encouraged to use them on a regular basis for health, recreation, sport, and active travel.
Dr Andrew Murray, President of Ramblers Scotland, said:
The Scottish Government’s National Walking Strategy is a fantastic document which lays out a long-term plan to get Scots all across the country walking more, and take advantage of the many walking routes on offer.
At the moment, physical inactivity is the second biggest cause of mortality in Scotland – joint with smoking – after high blood pressure. It has been estimated that getting Scots active would increase life expectancy by more than a year given our current inactivity levels.
Walking, given its accessibility, has been highlighted as the most likely way all adults can achieve the recommended levels of physical activity and I would encourage everyone to get moving.
The National Walking Strategy was developed by members of a Working Group made up of the following organisations:
Scottish Sports Association, Education Scotland, Paths for All, COSLA, sportscotland, VisitScotland, Scottish Government, NHS Health Scotland, Mobility Access Committee of Scotland, Living Streets Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland, Sustrans Scotland, Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, Ramblers Scotland, University of Edinburgh
Greenspace Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage.
Visit our GREEN2014 exhibition to find out more about the Environmental Legacy of the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
11 April – 24 October 24014
The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow, G1 3NU
Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 10.30am – 5.00pm, Sunday 12.00 – 5.00pm
Scotland’s National Walking Strategy can be viewed here