Published: 21st NOVEMBER 2022

Getting active and forming friendships

Doaa and Walker were introduced by a charity and their friendship has blossomed through getting active together. Going for regular walks outside has given them both a physical and mental health boost.

Two young women stood close together smiling in front of Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol on a summer's day, with blue skies above.

Walker (left) and Doaa (right) benefit from getting active outside together. Photo: Walker Grevel

Stepping outside for fresh air every once in a while has a range of benefits for both our physical and mental health.

Our serotonin levels are given a boost when we get more oxygen in our blood, which explains why we can feel happier, healthier and calmer after a long walk, wheel or cycle outside.

Moments of tranquility outdoors can be heightened when sharing the experience with a companion.

This is certainly the case for Doaa from Pakistan, who has called Bristol home since February 2022.

Doaa arrived in the city alone and didn’t know her way around.

It was an uncertain and scary time for her.

That was until she discovered a charity which unites refugees and people seeking asylum with local people.

Doaa was paired with Walker through Bridges for Communities' b.friend scheme.

They were matched based on their similar interests and personalities.

And they’ve been best friends ever since.

While Walker grew up in the countryside and has a hunger for being out in nature, Doaa was keen to get active and explore all her new home had to offer.

The duo, who often meet weekly, enjoy long walks and getting active together around Bristol, Clevedon and Portishead.

Going for regular strolls, getting out in nature, and having a good chat has had a huge positive impact on both Doaa and Walker in a short space of time.

Their partnership has also allowed them to feel connected to each other and to their local community.

We spoke to the pair about the benefits of getting active in this video:

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