First steps for the new twenty minute walking group

Yesterday saw the first outing of our 20 minute walking group, a six week “assisted gentle exercise” programme in partnership with Shenley Green Surgery.

As we mentioned in our blog post about the main Shenley Green walking group a few weeks ago, the idea of the 20 minute walk is to provide some gentle group exercise for those who, for one reason or another, can’t manage a full hour.

The new group started their first session with a chat about exercise and the benefits of physical activity, then the six walkers did a 20 minute circuit of the surgery. They were led by Health Trainer Keiran, who has been working closely with the surgery to set up the group.

“We had a very varied group on yesterday’s walk, most of whom I already knew through my other Health Training work. It’s good to be able to offer an opportunity like this to people,” Keiran says. “The group enjoyed the walk, and look forward to the next five weeks, some of which will be led by other Health Trainers and will include presentations from other health professionals.”

Participants in the “assisted gentle exercise” programme tend to be referred by their GP. Most people who take part will be recovering from illness – perhaps from an operation, a fall, or a cardiac episode – or they will be awaiting treatment. At this point, doing something too strenuous would be a bad idea, but a gentle walk can be very beneficial.

The video below shows the group enjoying their first session – despite the rather hilly terrain!

As the NHS Choices website explains, regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers. Group activities like this are also beneficial for mental health – as participant Jenny says in the video, a walking group is a great way to get some fresh air and meet other people.

We hope that, over time, the gentle exercise from these regular 20 minute sessions will allow people to build up their stamina and, eventually, we’d love to see the 20 minute walkers join the main walking group.