Chichester folk are walking back to happiness…and staying healthy at the same time. Participants at HeartSmart walkers group across the Chichester area have travelled hundreds of miles on their own two feet and enjoyed the many benefits as well as seen all over the city and beyond.
Now the group is celebrating it’s 15th anniversary and are actively looking for new members and potential walk group leaders. Helping residents put their best foot forwards falls to the Chichester Wellbeing Team and a dedicated group of volunteer walk leaders who guide strollers on the free walks over distances ranging from a mile to six.
Walking is known to strengthen your heart, lower disease risk, helps you lose weight, prevents dementia, tones up legs, bums and tums, boosts vitamin D. and gives you energy.
Volunteer Gerald Gresham-Cooke, involved with the scheme since the walks, says it still surprises him when he is confronted by heartening numbers of would-be walkers first thing on a Monday.
He said: “I know how much our walks are appreciated by everybody who comes. I’m always amazed at how many turn up on an early Monday morning, happy to come for a walk. It gives me so much pleasure as leader. People chat and make new friends, as well as see sights of West Sussex which they would never discover for themselves.”
Another volunteer, Anne Adamson, says: “After glorious walks in some golden weather towards the end of last year, a dear regular walker said to me, ‘These walks make Monday for me, I can’t wait’, which is so wonderful to hear.”
The walks are good for providing a wellbeing boost and keeping people active and healthy. They are accredited by Walking for Health, a joint project led by The Ramblers Association and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Councillor Eileen Lintill says walking is good for both mind and body and people really enjoy the HeartSmart walks, adding: “Walking has a wealth of benefits and so if you fancy a change of scenery, meeting new people and seeing more of the district, then come along.
“With spring just arriving, now is the perfect time to start thinking about getting out and about. There are between three and eight walks a week to suit a range of abilities, the routes cover a wide variety of locations and new walkers are welcomed throughout the year.”