Chichester District Council's Wellbeing service is expanding the amount of short walks on offer across the district, as well as introducing a new 'walking with poles' scheme aimed at beginners.

To celebrate 20 years of its HeartSmart volunteer-led walks, Chichester Wellbeing is expanding its range of short excursions, offering more chances to enjoy the Chichester District, including the Southdowns National Park, Priory Park and many other areas of natural beauty both in and out of the district.

Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Culture at Chichester District Council, said: "Now that lockdown restrictions have eased and summer is here, it's the perfect time to get out in the fresh air, get some exercise, reconnect with friends, and meet new people. In order to encourage local residents to 'walk for wellbeing' and to make the most of our beautiful district we have introduced new walking routes to our popular HeartSmart programme.

"Walking is a great way to exercise however people can sometimes be put off because either they don't know where you can walk, they might not have anyone to walk with or sadly people can feel unsafe walking alone. The HeartSmart programme includes a range of 30-minute walks aimed at beginners and offers a very gentle way to return to exercise. They are arranged locally by trained volunteer walk leaders. We aim to show people routes available in our lovely district, encourage residents to keep their hearts healthy and help them to meet other people they might like to walk with.

"We've also started a new series of courses for summer 2021 focused around walking poles. These courses are free and run over eight weeks; they are specifically designed for beginners and delivered by a friendly, qualified and experienced instructor.

"Walking with poles is a great low-impact workout that burns calories and, through regular participation, can improve core strength and balance as well as strengthening the heart and lungs. There are so many health benefits to walking but simply adding poles can help reduce the accumulated stress of walking to the feet, legs, knees, hips and back.

"Many of our walks end near caf├ęs or coffee shops giving walkers the option to stay for a cuppa and a chat afterwards."

For more details and to book a place on any of Chichester Wellbeing's wide range of walks, please visit: HeartSmart Walks or call 01243 521041.

Date of release: 1 July 2021

Reference: 4014