Health Benefits of Walking and Cycling

This week’s blog has been written by Kimberly Ewan who is the transport development officer within my local council.

Kimberly recognises the many benefits of regular exercise in terms of physical and mental health and is keen to support the local population in finding easy ways to fit more activity into their every day lives.

She writes:

Only 39% of adults in Scotland achieve the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days per week. 

By swapping shorter car journeys with cycling or walking, you can reap the health benefits of building exercise into your daily routine. 

For example, it can be hard to find the time (or the motivation) to head to the gym after a long day at work or get up earlier for a run. 

An active commute is a more convenient way to fit exercise into your day and is the perfect length of time for short, local journeys on foot or by bike. 

Even if you only walk half a mile to get the train or bus to work it’s still good for your physical and mental health.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, physical activity can be as effective as medication and counselling.

 The mental health benefits are greatest in ‘green’ spaces such as parks and canals.

Similarly, environmental and health benefits run side by side as traffic pollution has been linked to the significant increase in asthma amongst young people and adults in recent decades.

Walking and cycling is a low carbon way to travel which contributes to cleaner air in our towns and cities.

If you find the cycle a bit daunting, e-bikes are becoming increasingly popular and are a good alternative to a normal bike especially if your route includes hills, is more than 5 miles long or if you need an extra boost.

Free trials and interest free grants are available for e-bikes, please visit the Energy Saving Trust for more information.  

There are lots of councils up and down the country offering initiatives to help you get going with cycling and walking.

Where I live, in East Dunbartonshire there are several things on offer:

Cycle for a Swim

Between 1 September and 31 October 2019, if you cycle to either the Allander, Leisuredrome or Kirkintilloch Leisure Centres you can swim for free!

All you have to do is show your selfie of you with your bike at the bike shelters to reception staff to claim your free swim.

There’s no limit on the amount of times you can claim this over the course of the two months. 

This is just one of the ways you can incorporate active travel into your daily lifestyle and one of the initiatives East Dunbartonshire Council run to increase rates of walking and cycling within the area. 

More information can be found here

Routes and Maps

In East Dunbartonshire you’re never far from fantastic leisurely places to walk and cycle such as:• Forth & Clyde Canal (National Cycle Network Route 754)• Mugdock Country Park• Campsie Fells• National Cycle Network Route 755 (Strathkelvin Railway Path)• The John Muir Way• The Thomas Muir Trail• West Highland Way

The Healthy Habits project is designed to encourage local people to walk and cycle more as part of their everyday journeys.

Blue route signs and standalone maps are in towns across East Dunbartonshire to highlight the best way to local facilities and the time it takes. 

They highlight safe off road and quiet links to help you get from A to B easily. We’ve also prepared some handy pocket-sized maps that you can download here.

The East Dunbartonshire Cycle Map features 17 routes to try out of varying length and difficultly. 

In addition, there is a wealth of information on bike maintenance, safety tips, cycle parking, public transport and walking, as well as details of how to report road defects. Why not try it out and see what you uncover in your local area?

 Look out for our updated Walking and Cycling map of the area coming soon.

Trails and Tales is an arts and heritage learning programme by East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture (EDLC) resulting in the creation of a number of outdoor sculptural arts and heritage trails.

Walking Groups

Walking groups are active throughout East Dunbartonshire and cater for all abilities, whether you are looking to get back on your feet or looking for some company.• 

Qualified walk leaders lead EDLC’s health walks.

The walks range between 30-60 minutes, are low level and ideal for anyone recovering from an injury or illness or just wanting to become more active. 

If you are looking for something a little more challenging, Ramblers have local groups who regularly meet up.

Or try some of the local Medal Routes, which are short circular walking routes of varying length.

More information on walking and cycling can be found at the following sites:••••

The Transport team at East Dunbartonshire Council can be contacted via the following email address – Please let us know if you would like more information on local walking and cycling routes.

If there’s any routes you would like to see upgraded, get in touch

©AYOSC 2019

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