This year provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to increase the number of Scots who are physically active. Earlier this year the Scottish Government launched the first ever National Physical Activity Implementation Plan which provides the framework for delivering the active legacy ambitions for the Commonwealth Games. This National Walking Strategy is a key element in delivering this ten year plan. Legacy 2014 is our chance to ensure that all of Scotland benefits from the Commonwealth Games and everyone is inspired to be more active. We want to capitalise on this golden opportunity for Scotland to achieve lasting change and make Scotland a world leader as a walking-friendly country.
Scotland has outstanding opportunities for walking both in urban and rural areas. Our spectacular scenery, our range of green spaces (including parks), our walkable urban centres and world-class cities, our community routes, our long distance route networks and our world-class access rights all combine to give Scotland a unique set of 'walking-friendly' factors. Walking can contribute positively to areas such as planning, regeneration, economic development, mental and physical health and wellbeing, transport, climate change and education.
There are many benefits from getting Scotland walking, including: more people will use active travel more often and will walk more for pleasure and for recreation; children will have safer routes to school and local facilities; older people will feel more connected with their communities; employers will have a healthier and more productive workforce; Scotland will reduce its use of carbon; and local economies will benefit from increased footfall.
Walking is highly cost-effective and demonstrates that prevention really is better than cure. The health risks of inactivity are stark - 7 Scots die every day due to inactivity, often long before they have to.
Our challenge is to put this into practice by embedding it into the implementation of existing and new policy, strategy and guidance. The potential benefits are massive and we are committed to seeing them achieved. Thanks to members of the working group and the many stakeholders who have helped develop this strategy. Let's Get Scotland Walking!
Cabinet Secretary for the Commonwealth Games, Sport, Equalities and Pensioners' Rights
CoSLA Spokesperson for Health and Well-being