4. Fife Walking Initiative - Bums Off Seats
The Bums Off Seats (BOS) walking initiative in Fife was established in 2004 and has gone from strength to strength. It is a core delivery element for Active Fife and they regularly have nearly 5,000 people per week attending Health Walks across Fife. They attend a range of walking group options:
- 18 community Health Walks
- Buggy walks and family walks
- Walking clubs in schools (before, after and during the curriculum)
- Teenage girls walking groups
- Workplace walking groups
- Specialised walks (closed groups e.g. exercise referral, buddy walks, mental health service groups, carers etc.)
- Independent walks
- Nordic walking groups
- 60 waymarked Health Walk routes
They have trained 385 community Health Walk Leaders (175 specifically for BOS and 210 for partner organisations and groups) who have led over 72,000 walks within the Community Health Walks programme alone.
5. The Alliance - Walking Towards Better Health
Walking Towards Better Health and The ALLIANCE work together to encourage people to become more active, particularly through walking as this is the gentlest, most accessible form of physical activity. The work of Walking Towards Better Health aims to support people living with long-term conditions to use walking as one of many tools to self-manage their condition and hope that as a result of this both their physical and mental health benefit.
The project has had a very positive impact on those that have taken part. The majority of individuals who participated in walking activities reported an improved sense of wellbeing. This was characterised by an improvement in mental, physical and emotional health.
Some of the walkers have said:
- "Meeting the same friendly faces and getting out in the fresh air and becoming more active has played a huge part in my recovery. I always feel better once I have made the effort. It gives me a lift both emotionally and physically it stimulates me and actually gives me energy to continue throughout the day."
- "Now I walk so much that I know if I'm walking less that's a trigger to let me know that I'm beginning to go into a slump and my health is going downhill so I need to give myself a kick up the bum and do something about it!"
- "It's good to chat to others and it helps to know you're not alone. It's good to have somebody to validate the fact that it is OK to have a bad day."
- "When I've gone to the walking group, when I've not felt like it, it's helped."
- "To my mind, walking is a representation of my independence, spirit, determination, direction, and ability. It has offered me an opportunity to create new relationships, and become involved in new activities such as drumming, Reiki, and pay greater attention to my general health and wellbeing." - Walk Leader
6. Scottish Association for Mental Health - 'Gateways To' and beyond
The 'Gateways To' service promotes social inclusion by supporting adults with mild to moderate mental health, alcohol and drug problems to access mainstream activity.
To accommodate those coming through the 'Gateways To' programme SAMH worked with peer support volunteers in Inverclyde to develop a 12-week walking group which was run by and for people with mental health conditions. This set up has worked well as the members of the group clearly have a sense of ownership. Being run by peer supporters also works well as this created a 'safe environment' where people feel that 'you don't have to explain yourself' and they are seen as an individual, not just someone with a mental health condition. It has also made a huge difference to the lives of the peer supporters, one of whom is giving up her volunteer role to go to college and attributes her new found confidence to her time spent as a peer supporter.
Quotes from the walk group members include:
- "When I've gone to the walking group when I've not felt like it, it's helped."
- "It motivates you to talk about problems."
- "It's easier to talk while walking rather than sitting face to face with someone... Walking is the reason we go along but we get so much more than physical health improvements out of it, there are so many therapeutic benefits."
- "I never used to walk the dog by myself, but now I have the confidence to do it on my own!"
- "I am not only fitter in mind but also in body."
7. Walking for Wellbeing in the West Study - Pedometer research (2012)
Study to look at - Does physical activity counselling enhance the effects of a pedometer-based intervention over the long-term: 12-month findings from the Walking for Wellbeing in the West Study.
Pedometers provide a simple, cost-effective means of motivating individuals to increase walking yet few studies have considered if short-term changes in walking behaviour can be maintained in the long-term. The purpose of this study was to assess the sustainability of pedometer-based interventions and empirically examine the role of physical activity consultations using long-term results of a community-based walking study.
Conclusion: this study has demonstrated that it is possible to increase and maintain walking levels in low-active Scottish men and women over 12 months using pedometer-based interventions. The addition of a physical activity consultation focused on walking seems to have had limited additional benefit in relation to step counts or health indices but the consultation may have encouraged individuals to be active in other ways beyond walking and to reduce sitting time.
• School Physical Activity Survey - 2013
The School Physical Activity Survey 2013 measured the number of children in select age groups achieving UK physical activity levels in Dumfries and Galloway.
Schools were provided with a two-week window to complete returns. There were a total of 3,767 returned survey responses used in this analysis. Responses by gender were split fairly evenly, females (49%) and males (51%). Over a quarter of the responses came from Primary 7 (27%), Secondary 1 (32%) and Secondary 3 (27%) with the fewest proportion of responses from Secondary 5 (15%).
The top three highest participated activities done in the last year were Team Games (70%), Active Travel (63%) and Active Video Games (60%). However there were gender differences with Team Games. The most participated activity in males (76%) compared with females (63%), while Active Video Games and Active Travel were higher in females compared with males. Team Games remain the most participated in activity throughout each year group.
• Physical Activity and Wellbeing Staff Survey 2014
With physical activity being one of the best things we can do for our health, the legacy of the Commonwealth Games is being used to energise and motivate individuals to increase their physical activity in the run up to and beyond the 2014 Commonwealth Games. This is aimed at staff in Dumfries and Galloway Council and NHS Dumfries and Galloway.
This survey has been used to determine the level of Physical Activity for all staff and seeks their views in the development and implementation of programmes and events pre and post Commonwealth Games. The survey also asked about active travel and general mental wellbeing. This will form an important baseline.
Email: Donna MacKinnon