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The positive correlation between walking or other physical activity and mental health has been long-known by general practitioners and mental health specialists.

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Since the introduction of the global pandemic, over 60% of adults have stated their mental health has gotten worse. The key factor for this was loneliness. Being lonely is also a huge health risk. As well as negatively impacting mental health, it is linked to early death and increased risk of heart disease and strokes.  At a time where lockdowns, restrictions and working from home were a challenge, walking become a main tool to tackle people's mental health.

Kick Start FC host regular walking groups to encourage people to get out of the house and feel the benefits that walking can offer your mental health. Walking offers huge benefits both mentally and physically. It offers an increase in self-perception and self-esteem, improves sleep quality, and helps reduce stress, anxiety and fatigue. Physically active people have up to 30% reduce risk of becoming depressed, and staying active helps those who are depressed recover. Walking also helps boost your mood because it increases the blood flow and blood circulation to the brain and the body.

Being out in nature also offers additional benefits to your mental health as it offers fresh air and allows you to be 'present'. Even just observing it, helps you connect to the world around you. It gives an opportunity to empty your mind of daily stresses and tasks, and become present in that moment. Mindfulness is a wonderful practice, grounding you in the here and now; focussing on what you can see, hear or smell. Walking in nature is the perfect time to dial into your senses and notice how you really feel.

Walking can be great for your social life - and knowing you have the support of people around you is a great way to start and keep going. You'll make friends, encourage each other, develop a network of supportive fellow walkers and discover new walks in and around your area.

If you would like to get involved with the Kick Start FC Walking Group, please follow their facebook page by clicking here and keep an eye out for walking dates and routes. 

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Walking Mental Health Benefits

. Encouragement to get active in order to increase physical and mental fitness

. Gain a sense of achievement 

. Boost in self-esteem

. Mental benefits of endorphins and serotonin

. Try something new

Walking Social Benefits

. Meet new people and form relationships 

. Gaining a sense of belonging and be part of a team

. Start building a support network for your mental health

. Opportunities to talk about your problems

. Understand that you are not alone on your journey

. Have fun and take your mind off things