A mood-boosting podcast narrated by presenter and DJ Edith Bowman has been launched to help Scots unwind while they walk.
‘Mind to Walk’ has been developed by Scotland’s walking charity, Paths for All, to help people look after their mental health while getting their daily exercise.
It incorporates mindfulness techniques using Edith’s familiar voice to help listeners connect their minds and bodies during 25 minutes of self-care.
Paths for All says that, during periods of social distancing, isolation and uncertainty, many people have expressed increased feelings of anxiety, stress or worry.
Daily outdoor exercise, whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines, has become an important way to look after physical and mental wellbeing.
Launched as part of May’s National Walking Month, the campaign aims to support people dealing with stress and anxiety caused by Covid-19, during their once daily outdoor exercise as recommended by the government.
Ian Findlay CBE, Chief Officer with Paths for All, hopes that people of all ages will give the podcast a listen, and believes the calming benefits of the ‘Mind to Walk’ campaign can be far-reaching.
He said: “The power of a short daily walk has become even stronger recently. It’s a time for us to wander outside, get some fresh air and leave our worries behind. With the podcast, we’re hoping to make that burst of activity even more beneficial by helping people tune into their surroundings.
“The podcast is expertly scripted and Edith’s comforting and recognisable voice will help any listener thoroughly de-stress and clear their head, to remove some of the tension a lot of us are feeling.
“I’d encourage you to try this frequently on your daily walks as evidence shows that the effects of mindfulness are greater the more you practice. It might feel a little awkward to start with, but the script is designed to be listened and enjoyed by everyone, regardless of experience in using mindfulness techniques.”
Written by Glasgow-based meditation expert Dassini Cadwallender, ‘Mind to Walk’ has been designed to be used on any walking route – whether it is around a housing estate or in a nearby woodland, listeners will finish feeling calmer and ready to enjoy their day.
The voice behind the audio, Edith Bowman is delighted to be involved and said: “This is such a strange time for us all and I think being aware of your physical and mental health is so important as we move forward into the unknown.
“When I heard about ‘Mind to Walk’ I was eager to be involved. If I can do one small thing to help a few folk’s lockdown less anxiety-ridden it makes me very happy. If we can get as many people as possible taking the podcast on their walks with them, that would be incredible, and hopefully helpful to them.”
Paths for All believes regular walking is key to leading a happy and healthy life – and it is important for people to continue enjoying short, local walks where it is safe and appropriate to do so, owing to the huge array of associated benefits.
With around one in three people estimated to be affected by mental health problems in Scotland in any one year, this is set to be compounded during the pandemic – with a further 20% reporting that they are worried about mental illnesses directly related to Covid-19, including 11% who are concerned about anxiety and 7% who have concerns about depression.
The impact of the increased pressure can also manifest in different ways, with 38% saying that they have slept less or worse than they normally do. Physical activity has been proven to reduce the risk of depression by 30%.
The script for the ‘Mind to Walk’ recordings acts as guided walking meditation, allowing listeners to connect with their bodies, nature and the sensation of walking as well as stretching and relaxing as they walk.
The script has been designed to be listened and enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their experience in practicing mindfulness. It has been found the effects of mindfulness are greater the more individual’s practice.
Mind to Walk is freely available online on all popular podcast players or on Paths for All website.
The Mind to Walk meditation is 25 minutes long, the perfect length for a daily walk. This is accompanied by a short six-minute version that can be done at home for those who are self-isolating, can’t go out walking or have little time.
Paths for All’s aim is to significantly increase the number of people who choose to walk in Scotland, whether it’s walking for leisure or walking to work, school or to the shops.
The charity works to create more opportunities and better environments not just for walking, but also for cycling and other activities to help make Scotland a more active, more prosperous and greener country.
Paths for All’s focus is clear, it wants to get Scotland walking: everyone, every day, everywhere.