Embarking on regular walks could be the key to Scottish happiness as seven out of ten Scots who regularly go walking or hiking consider themselves to be very happy in their lives.
In June 2014, the Scottish Government launched The National Walking Strategy entitled ‘Let’s Get Scotland Walking’, which aims to encourage more Scots to head outdoors and enjoy the benefits of walking. It is hoped that the strategy will play a key role in creating a ‘culture of walking’, be it in the shape of lengthy hikes or a short walk around the neighbourhood. The aim is to increase activity levels and improve the well-being of Scots, and if recent figures are anything to go by then it appears regular walks can have a positive impact on people’s overall happiness.
Walking: The key to happiness?
Walking is by far the most popular activity amongst Scottish adults, three times as popular as swimming – which is the second most common activity in the country. Results from a recent study by TGI suggests that walking may be the key to a happy life for Scots, as 71.4% of Scots who regularly go walking or hiking consider themselves to be ‘very happy’ in their lives.
The figure is almost ten per cent higher than the national ‘happiness average’ and further findings suggest regular walks may be the key to reducing work-related stress, as only two in ten of Scots who frequently go walking state that they worry about work during their leisure time.
Exploring the Scottish outdoors
According to figures released in The Scottish Government’s National Walking Strategy, walking is also one of the most popular activities for UK visitors to Scotland. 88% enjoy long walks or hikes during their visit, no doubt inspired by some of the country’s spectacular and diverse scenery.
Walkers in Scotland are spoilt for choice in terms of access to beauty spots, thanks to the country’s trespass laws. The ‘right to roam’ means you have the right to trek across most of Scotland’s land without restriction; ideal for outdoor adventurers of all ages. Additionally, only 17.3% believe rules are there to be broken, which is an indication of the success of the ‘right to roam’ laws, as walkers are less likely to trespass illegally. Despite the open access however, less than half of Scottish walkers say they have a keen sense of adventure.
Preparation is key
Walking in Scotland always runs the risk of encountering adverse weather conditions, making it all the more important to wear suitable hiking clothing. Thankfully, the majority of Scottish walkers are aware of the importance of wearing comfortable clothing, with only 24.4% opting for style instead of comfort when it comes to buying hiking gear.
Another key aspect of enjoying a successful walk is ensuring you stock up on plenty of refreshments. Always pack a bottle of water and enough food to sustain you for the duration of your trip. It’s equally important to fuel your body prior to your hike – and nothing can beat the impact of a hearty breakfast. Those who frequently embark on walking and hiking trips in Scotland are 24% more likely to regularly eat porridge or oat based cereals for breakfast, which act as an excellent source of energy.
The overall happiness of Scottish walkers serves as a reminder of the positive affect an active lifestyle can have on a person’s wellbeing. Whether it’s a lengthy trek in the Highlands or a brisk walk around your local park, walking not only enables you to stay fit but it can also act as a great way of unwinding from the pressures of working life. Here’s to the Great Scottish outdoors!