Going the distance on Sheffield’s health walks

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Sheffield’s health walkers are aiming to walk to Mumbai this month as part of the city’s Move More campaign.

“Well not exactly,” said Sue Lee, organiser of the city’s Step out Sheffield Programme.

“Our walks registered approximately 2,000 attendances in June last year, and at an average distance of 1.5 miles per walk that adds up to 3,000 miles, which we worked out is Sheffield to Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan.”

This year, the programme aims to increase the distance by 50 per cent.

“We’re aiming to walk to Mumbai in India!

“That’s 4,500 miles away and can only be achieved if there are 3,000 attendances at our walks this June, and everyone manages to walk 1.5 miles,” said Sue.

24 November 2016: Walking for Health, Sheffield.
Picture: Sean Spencer 07976 433960

24 November 2016: Walking for Health, Sheffield. Picture: Sean Spencer 07976 433960

The plan is for all the existing 400 or so regular health walkers on Sheffield’s 25 separate walks around the city to bring along a friend during Move More month throughout June, for walkers to try new walks, or for new people to take up the challenge.

Thanks to the new link with the city’s Move More campaign to get the city more active, there’ll also be five special ‘Move More Month’ health walks leaving from the entrance to Graves Leisure Move More Clinical Assessment Centre at 10.30 on Friday mornings.

Over 130 volunteer walk leaders run the Step Out Sheffield health walk programme.

Sue, the chair of the group, picked up a prestigious national Ramblers Association Innovation award at a ceremony this month at Sandown Park.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“The Ramblers award is about a group of Walking for Health volunteers who won the award together for working innovatively to come up with a plan to rescue the city’s health walk scheme when we lost our funding,” said Sue.

The scheme, which began in 1999, originally had help from a council-funded walk coordinator, but cuts meant the role was lost in February 2016.

Since then, the group has organised one of the largest health walk schemes in the UK on an entirely voluntary basis.

The Step Out Sheffield health walks are short walks of no more than one hour, using paths through parks, woodlands and green spaces wherever possible.

The walks aim to progress at a pace that everyone feels comfortable with, alongside the option to turn back or rest if required.

The scheme is proud to have hosted two walkers of over 100 years old.

“These kinds of walks are ideal for people taking up exercise for the first time, patients recovering from illness or surgery, for men and women with mental health problems or older people who simply want to maintain their fitness,” said Sue.

“So if you want to give walking a go to explore The Outdoor City, we’re saying join us this summer for a walk to Mumbai!”

For more information visit www.healthwalksinsheffield.btck.co.uk or call the helpline on 07505 639524.

Log on to www.movemoresheffield.com to learn about the campaign to increase people’s physical activity levels in Sheffield.