Published: 18th DECEMBER 2022

The benefits of walking in winter: Your stories

Going out for a walk while it's cold outside can feel uninviting at first. However, walking is one of the easiest ways to remain active in winter and can help alleviate the impact of shorter days on the mind. We spoke to community groups who have felt the benefits of walking outside.

Studies have shown that outdoor exercise is particularly beneficial compared to indoors © Sustrans

When it comes to walking for everyday journeys, particularly in the shorter days, there are many barriers that communities face.

Street clutter and pavement parking can make it particularly difficult for disabled people and parents with children.

Crossing busy roads can be difficult for older people and those with mobility issues.

For others, the nearest amenities and services may be too far away to access by walking.

However, there are many good reasons to walk when you can.

Studies have shown that outdoor exercise is particularly beneficial compared to indoors1, and going out for a wee wander can lower stress levels and reduce feelings of anxiety.

So, it’s great for your mind as well as your body.

A report released by Sustrans this year showed that 56.6% of people living in Scotland’s seven main cities walk at least five times a week.

According to the findings, residents of Edinburgh and Stirling walk most regularly.

The report also showed that 58.4% of people in the same seven cities said that they could easily get to many places they needed to go without needing to drive, with Edinburgh and Glasgow coming out on top.

People from all walks of life can benefit from going for a stroll.

We spoke to community organisations with a focus on disability, youth, LGBTQ+ and race equality.

We asked them to talk about why they walk and the benefits they experience.

Tanvir, Glasgow

I come from Bangladesh which has a very different climate.

Over here when I first moved, it was not very easy for me to adjust to the weather, new culture and everything.

It was really helpful for me to walk through the park and walk regularly because it's exercise and I enjoy it.

I was feeling down about some of my queer experiences which were not so nice and I think walking really helped me to come out of that situation.

For Tanvir, a member of Glasgow University LGBTQ+ Students’ Association, walking provides a space to connect with nature, feel calm and restore a positive mindset. © 2022 Sustrans

Safy Ahmed, Edinburgh

It's a big thing of having your me time, around the greenery, around the nature that just gives you the feeling that the nature is yours and you are for them.

I always say to everyone, don't sit at home, put your shoes on, go out, enjoy your walk.

Safy, who volunteers for the community organisation SCOREScotland, likes to walk in green spaces as it gives her time to herself. © 2022 Sustrans

Paul McCusker, Glasgow 

Walking is just number one, it's fantastic.

There's swimming, there's cycling, but they come further down the list, number one is walking.

You don't need anything, you just go a walk, you just go.

You don't need to be out for three or four hours, a short walk is plenty.

You can go out and come straight back.

But if you have time for a cup of tea or a coffee and a wee cake after, you must take it. 

Paul, a member of the Scottish Deaf Cycling Club, prefers walking as his default mode of transports as you don’t need anything, you just go a walk. © 2022 Sustrans

Watch the full video below:

It is well known that keeping active is key to people's health and wellbeing.

So, why not go for a walk today?

Find your nearest group walk on the Paths for All website in Scotland or Ramblers in the UK. 


Read the Walking and Cycling Index, the biggest ever survey of walking, wheeling and cycling.


Read the ultimate guide to walking in older age.

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