From bustling towns to rural villages, people across Suffolk are being invited to ‘Walk this Way’ by taking on a countywide walking challenge.
Suffolk County Council is encouraging people to sign up to the challenge, record their walks, challenge their friends, family and colleagues and keep track of everyone’s progress online at www.walkthiswaysuffolk.co.uk.
The challenge runs from Monday 12 to Saturday 31 May 2014 and registration is open to all. Participation is completely free, and everyone logging an activity will be automatically entered into a random daily draw with the opportunity to win prizes.
Those taking part can share their experiences by Tweeting using the hashtag #walkthiswaysuffolk, which will encourage others to recommend their favourite walks, upload photos and nominate friends and family to join in.
Councillor Joanna Spicer, Chairman of Suffolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“This countywide walking challenge is an excellent way for people to have fun and enjoy walking, no matter where they live. Everyone can get involved by challenging friends and family to join in, share their experiences and most importantly, reap the many benefits that walking brings.
“Walking is one of the priority areas for Suffolk in terms of supporting people to stay fit and well. It’s free, fun and can make a significant contribution to people’s long-term wellbeing.”
The challenge is part of national walking month, which includes the popular Suffolk Walking Festival (10 May-01 June) and national walk to work week which starts on Monday 12 May.
According to the Department for Transport, walking statistics for 2012/13 reveal that 42% of Suffolk people participate in a minimum of 10 minutes walking five times per week.
Health experts have identified a range of benefits associated with regular walking of up to 30 minutes every day, including a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease, some cancers and even improvements to mental health.
Other walking groups will be supporting the challenge, including Nowton Walks in Bury St Edmunds and Suffolk Pramblings, set up by young families for walks which are buggy-friendly around the east coast.
Karen Thomas, who coordinates Suffolk Pramblings, said:
“The Suffolk Walking Challenge is a great way to get new and existing walkers out into the fantastic Suffolk countryside. We live in a beautiful place and walking is a great way to get healthy and enjoy the environment with friends and family.”