Active Together – Walking in a Lockdown

A blog by James Kenyon, Active Together Co-ordinator.

After more than 12 years of Newground’s Active Together team running guided walks for all ages and abilities, locally, far and wide, I don’t think we’ve ever encountered a bigger challenge than trying to keep our walkers active over the past 12 months.

With group walks being suspended due to the pandemic, Newground’s volunteer walk leaders have had to get creative with ways to keep our walkers engaged. One of our volunteer walk leaders, using a virtual walking App, managed to walk across the entire Sahara desert totalling more than 3000 miles! Thankfully without the extreme heat of the African sun but  instead enduring the wind, snow, hail and rain we get here in Lancashire.

Continuing to think outside the box, our walking co-ordinator, phone camera in hand, took to the paths of East Lancashire and filmed short walks in parks, along canal towpaths and at other popular beauty spots. These were then edited and shared so that they could be easily followed in real time by existing and new walkers alike. A 30-45 minute walk on average was condensed down into a 30 second clip! For more traditional walkers a printable route map was also available. The walking video’s and maps have been so successful during lockdown that they will remain a permanent fixture as part of our ongoing approach to getting more people engaged with the great outdoors.

With guided group walking being exempt from the Governments restrictions, the future is looking brighter for the Active Together walks. Our volunteer walk leaders are ‘chomping at the bit’ to get back out and we’re marking this occasion by adding some fresh routes onto the walking timetable.

In a recent study by Sport England – walking and cycling have understandably been the two most popular forms of exercise during the Covid-19 pandemic. We’d like to help this positive trend continue and to celebrate the Walking Month of May we’d like encourage you to join our walking groups as they re-start. The physical, mental and social wellbeing benefits of walking are endless so why not come along to see what it’s all about!

Get in touch and find out more here.