Walking is fun, free and easy. It’s one of the simplest ways to be a little more active, and – as a growing body of research confirms – can improve your mental health, too.
Spending just 20 minutes with nature can help lower stress hormone levels, according to a recent study.
This also applies to urban environments.
A study by researchers at the University of Porto in Portugal showed a short walk in urban nature significantly reduced a negative mood and brought about more feelings of awe and wonder compared to a walk in a city devoid of natural elements.
Go Jauntly, a free community-based walking app, was launched in 2018 to promote good places to walk and to connect with green spaces all over the UK – whatever time of the year.
And now, they have released 25 self-guided strolls in and around areas of natural beauty and interest in Manchester to promote greater wellbeing.
From Kersal Wetlands in Salford and the Northern Roots eco-park in Oldham to secret paths in Crumpsall, the walks were created in partnership with local groups GM Walking and Walking Projects Plus CIC to champion the benefits of walking and help people find and connect with some of the best natural spots in the area.
The walks range from around 25 mins (1.1km) to 1hr 40 mins (3.7km), and they can be downloaded in advance so they are available in offline mode, saving mobile data costs.
“At this time of year, our instinct is to turn inwards, huddle on the sofa and hibernate,” said Go Jauntly co-founder Hana Sutch.
“But now more than ever, a quick walk in some local nature really can make all the difference to our wellbeing – and it’s totally free.
“We’re delighted to create these walks to promote connecting with nature in Manchester for better wellbeing.”