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Walk this May!

Published: Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Walk this May!

People across Lanarkshire are being urged to explore their local greenspace this week to boost their mental health and wellbeing

As organisations across the country get set to mark Green Health Week (Saturday 14 May – Sunday 22 May), NHS Lanarkshire and Get Outdoors Lanarkshire have joined forces with walking app Go Jauntly, to make spending time outdoors that little bit easier.

By downloading the app on iPhones or Androids, residents can explore some of their favourite local Lanarkshire walks. The free, community-based walking app promotes walking for leisure and nature connection, and is a fabulous way to discover local walks created by the people who know and love them.

The app also highlights the greenest routes for local walking journeys or a place to note down the positive things seen in everyday nature, which research shows can help alleviate anxiety.

To coincide with Green Health Week, May is also National Walking Month, with both events backed by NHS Lanarkshire and the Lanarkshire Green Health Partnership.

The aim is to encourage residents to embrace the health benefits of spending time outdoors. Activities can include walking, gardening, cycling, volunteering, outdoor learning and play as well as just enjoying being out in green spaces or looking out the window at nature.

Vicki Trim, senior health improvement manager, NHS Lanarkshire, said: “Research shows that spending time outdoors plays an important role in improving our overall mental health and wellbeing.

“Green Health Week is a fantastic opportunity to explore the outdoors and the Go Jauntly app provides over ten Lanarkshire walking routes that come recommended by walkers.

“We have also been reviewing local walks beside our hospitals to support able patients, hospital visitors and our staff to experience a boost to their physical, emotional and mental health, if they have the opportunity to spend time in nature when they’re visiting or working.

“The health benefits of spending time in nature are known to help relieve stress, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve sleep, we’re thrilled to be able to offer a free resource which can connect people to nature more easily.

“People can both discover new walking routes and add their favourite strolls to the app for others to enjoy, the more the merrier!”

Sarah Burgess, green health development officer, Get Outdoors Lanarkshire, said: “During the winter lockdown, the team at Get Outdoors Lanarkshire started using the app and became aware there were very few routes added to it from the Lanarkshire area.

“We knew from our work around nature connection and walking that not only were there a lot of people out there discovering new routes, there were also people who were desperate to walk somewhere new and different. 

“Additionally there are people who aren’t able to get out at all, but the app enables people to connect to nature wherever they are, sending prompts to encourage people to notice nature, even if it’s through a window.

“In recent months, our team of volunteers have been out and about mapping walks across Lanarkshire and getting them uploaded onto the app for anybody to discover them; but it doesn’t have to stop there; if you have a favourite walk then you can become part of the fun and record it on the app yourself.”

Hana Sutch, CEO, Go Jauntly, added: “Here at Go Jauntly we’ve been dreaming of escaping to Scotland. For a walk, for a holiday, maybe even forever! So on this note, we’ve made it our mission to launch new walks across this beautiful country.

“Alongside some new walks in East Lothian, we’re pleased to share that as a result of our partnership with Get Outdoors Lanarkshire we’ve got an incredible selection of walks across Lanarkshire now too.”

Visit https://www.gojauntly.com/download-1 or search ‘Go Jauntly’ in your App Store or Google Play, and enjoy exploring local Lanarkshire walking spots!