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Health is a Walk in the Park


Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is encouraging everyone to get outdoors this winter and celebrate winter walks with their Hearty Walks programme.

Ann Doherty, Hearty Lives Co-Ordinator and Walk Leader, explains “Walking can help reduce your risk of heart disease. It can also help you control your weight, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and improve your mental health – helping you to look and feel great. You can keep your heart healthy and happy by walking your way to fitness. Whatever your age, size or physical condition, you are likely to benefit from being more active.”

“Christmas can be a challenging time for our stress levels and many people are also affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter, but physical activity, such as a brisk walk, releases the feel-good endorphins which help you relax, feel happy and boost your mood. Research has also indicated that regular exercise can help to boost our immune systems, enabling us to better fight off colds and flu viruses that are prolific in winter months.”

There are additional benefits to walking in natural environments, such as parks, woods and other green spaces. The National Environmental Education Foundation found that walking in nature can have a positive effect on depression, memory, creativity and problem solving skills.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Cllr Billy Ashe, is backing the Hearty Walks campaign and said “Studies have shown that people are more likely to walk and enjoy higher levels of health and well-being when they have good access to green spaces in their communities. We are proud to say we have fantastic green spaces in the Borough so why not get out and enjoy them this winter. Burn off the Christmas calories and kick-start your new year’s resolution. Improving your physical and mental health really can be a walk in the park.”

Celebrate winter walking with us:

Sunday 6th December, Carrickfergus Mill Ponds, 10.30am-11.30am

Sunday 10th January, Blackhead Path, Whitehead, 2.30pm-3.30pm

Sunday 24th January, Bashfordsland Wood, Carrickfergus, 10.30am-11.30am

Sunday 14th February, Marine Gardens, Carrickfergus, 2.30pm-3.30pm

Walks will be led by trained walk leaders. Pedometers will be available for walkers to count their steps.