May is National Walking Month and Living Streets, the charity behind this campaign, is encouraging everyone to #WalkThisMay! At Children’s Health Scotland we know that walking is good for us for so many reasons. It can help us stay physically fit, help prevent illnesses, and the fresh air and time in nature is a great way to improve our mental health and wellbeing.
Commenting on National Walking Month, Helen Forrest, Chief Executive of Children’s Health Scotland said: “We fully support National Walking Month and agree with Living Streets that walking is good for our minds, our bodies and our neighbourhoods and has been a lifeline during the past year, helping people stay active and connected. There are a whole host of different health benefits associated with getting outdoors and walking so if you are able please walk this May.”
Walking is a fun way to explore the world around you by travelling to an area you haven’t been to before or by going a different route to school or work. It has also been more important than ever over the past year as it has been the one of the only ways to meet safely with friends during lockdown. However, walking is not easy for everyone. You may have a physical or mental condition that stops you from getting outside as much as you’d like to.
Here are some reasons and tips to #WalkThisMay
Stress can be overwhelming and day-to-day worries can sometimes seem like too much. You might find yourself feeling stuck in your head. When that happens, simply going outside for fresh air or a walk can really help to clear away those negative thoughts. Breathing in the air and getting your body moving is scientifically shown to help with symptoms of anxiety and depression, which is why exercise is often prescribed by doctors to help ease these symptoms.
Time with Loved Ones
During lockdown, you might not have been able to see the people you care about. It has been a difficult and sometimes lonely time for us all, but it will be worth it! As restrictions across Britain are starting to ease, it’s now becoming safe to see friends and family in person. Be sure to check what the social distancing rules are where you live before you head out. Your loved ones don’t just have to be human. If you have a pet dog, then take them out with you. It will make both you and your furry friend feel happy and healthy.
If you have difficulty walking for whatever reason, then start small, set an achievable goal, and be proud of your achievements. The most important part of exercise isn’t being the best, it’s focusing on what you can do. If you have a condition that limits your movement, then start small – go outside and breathe in fresh air or only walk for a few minutes, or however much you can manage. Gradually build your strength and always do what is comfortable for you. If you are worried about your physical fitness, then speak with a carer or doctor for advice.
“Here at Children’s Health Scotland, we are dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of all children and young people,” added Dr Laura Smith, Head of Children’s Health and Wellbeing Services at Children’s Health Scotland. “We recognise walking as a great way for people to look after their physical and mental health. If you are a child or young person with a long-term health condition and feel like you could benefit from some help with improving the relationship you have with your health and wellbeing then please get in touch. SMS:CONNECT is our online group programme that will help you take steps towards increasing your confidence and self-esteem, accessing information, and developing skills that can help you cope better with your health condition. You can access this service online, from the comfort of your home and we will help you to connect with other children and young people with health conditions.”
For more information on SMS:CONNECT visit https://www.childrenshealthscotland.org/service/smsconnect/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org