Six in ten of us are walking more than we did before the coronavirus pandemic.
Scottish people are the most likely in the UK to be walking more now than before coronavirus restrictions came into force, according to a new poll.
The YouGov survey revealed that 61% of Scots were walking more now than they did before the pandemic measures, the highest of any of the countries and regions analysed.
Scotland’s walking charity Paths for All welcomed the survey, saying now is the perfect time to experience the physical and mental benefits of a simple walk.
It comes as the charity launched a new podcast episode to help people unwind when they walk.
Ian Findlay CBE, chief officer at Paths for All said: “Walking has never held such importance to our physical – and in particular – our mental health, so it is great to see walking becoming even more popular.
“We're so fortunate here in Scotland. Lower population density means more of us have safe, green and picturesque routes close to home that we can relax in and enjoy. Even in our cities we have access to brilliant paths and parks. I'm sure this helps explain why Scots are the most likely to have increased their walking right now.
“Not to mention, many people are feeling more anxious than usual right now and walking is the easiest way to reduce stress and anxiety while also keeping us physically fit.
“Just a 30-minute daily walk is one of the best ways to look after our physical and mental health and, as it’s something we can do from our own front door, it fits in perfectly with the permitted reasons to leave our homes.”
Earlier this month, the charity launched its new podcast series, Mind to Walk, aiming to help people relax as they walk. The latest episode invites listeners to escape to their favourite location as they go on their regular route.
The calming series of audio tracks has been welcomed by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).
Robert Nesbitt, SAMH head of physical activity and sport, said: “We know that participating in physical activity can improve confidence, self-esteem, and mood; but it can be difficult for people to be active in the current circumstances.
“Walking is accessible and something that most of us can participate in. It's great that Paths for All are making this easier for people with the fantastic Mind to Walk podcast.”
Mind to Walk is freely available online on all popular podcast players or on the Paths for All website.
The charity has also published advice on walking while observing social distancing rules.