Walking and talking – one of life’s simple pleasures, whatever age, wherever you live, whatever you do.
That is the simple premise and promise behind The Walk and Talk Movement.
But there is so much more to it than that.
As we emerge startled and stunned from pandemic-imposed isolation, connecting with others and our communities has never been more important.
The benefits of exercise for physical and mental wellbeing are well documented. Or, as the World Health Organisation puts it, physical activity has significant health benefits for hearts, bodies and minds.
However, 1 in 4 adults still don’t even hit the minimum recommended levels of activity. This rises to a staggering 4 in every 5 adolescents. More activity alone could save 5 million lives.
But what is less well known is how a humble walk and talk can make such a big difference to society.
A recent BBC article highlighted that loneliness could be a bigger health risk than obesity or smoking.
The Royal College of General Practitioners Wales said: "Loneliness and social isolation can be as bad for patients as chronic long-term conditions. Loneliness puts people at a 50% increased risk of an early death.”
In other words, there has never been a more important time for people and communities to reach out and communicate with others, to make meaningful connections, to walk and talk.
Governments are wont to say, we are in this together. But as restrictions lift and life gets back to ‘normal’ we need to find sustainable ways to build crucial community bonds. We need to ensure we remain stronger together by supporting each other, by talking to each other.
Walking and talking – making new friends, meeting old ones, sharing, smiling, laughing, exercising, breathing fresh air, enjoying green space…simple pleasures that can make a world of difference.
Andy Yates, Co-Founder, The Walk and Talk Movement