Expanding on the success of Brinnington and Avondale leisure centre classes, which attract a consistent number of 30 attendees each week, the council, along with its partners Life Leisure and Age UK Stockport, will be introducing three new sessions this week:
• On Mondays, from 1pm to 2pm, at Offerton Community Centre, Mallowdale Road, Stockport, SK2 5NX.
• On Thursdays, from 1.30pm to 2.30pm, at Bramhall Village, Melbourne Road, Bramhall, Stockport, SK7 1LR.
• On Fridays, from 11.30am to 12.30pm, at Woodley Civic Hall, Hyde Road, Woodley, Stockport SK6 1QG.
The walks aim to bring members of the local community together to engage in physical activity in a social setting. Many of the participants face health challenges such as cancer, respiratory conditions, heart disease, or musculoskeletal issues.
The walks have proven to be highly successful, with attendees appreciating the safe and supportive environment, as well as the opportunity to socialize with fellow walkers over a cup of tea.
Patrick, who suffers from chronic back pain, attends the walks with his visually impaired wife Margaret, who finds the indoor space particularly beneficial as it is obstacle-free.
Both Patrick and Margaret have noticed an improvement in their physical activity levels since joining the walks, and have even taken up additional activities such as swimming and using the gym. Another participant, Pat, recently underwent hip replacement surgery and is using the walks as part of her recovery.
Many participants also took part in the Town of Culture Stockport Moves event last summer. The Move to a mile program was designed to help the least active residents become more active through an eight-week program that included weekly walks, culminating in the Stockport mile.
During the training walks, participants supported and encouraged each other, resulting in everyone successfully completing the mile, which was a significant achievement for many who had struggled just weeks before.
Lisa Arrandale, Active Communities lead for Life Leisure, stated:
“We have witnessed individuals gain confidence and improve their fitness levels, leading to a desire to engage in more walking. As a result, we now offer monthly Saturday Wellness Walks that are more challenging. This year, each Saturday walk will gradually increase in difficulty and length, with the aim of taking a group to Kinder Scout in June, which will be a major milestone for many participants who initially started in the Confidence walk sessions.”
The Wellness Walks take place on the first Saturday of every month and last between 2 and 3 hours. Participants also have the option to socialize over drinks or food after the walk. The walks are led by three qualified walk leaders. The next walk will be on Saturday, January 13th, starting at Etherow Country Park.
Councillor Frankie Singleton, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture & Sport, expressed:
“Providing safe and supportive indoor walks can have a significant positive impact on the health and happiness of inactive individuals or those with disabilities or long-term conditions in Stockport. Walking is the simplest and most accessible way to encourage physical activity, and we are delighted to extend these benefits to even more residents with the launch of the new sessions.”
Inspired by the achievements in Stockport, the Active Lifestyle Team at Salford Community Leisure has begun offering Confidence Walks at their network of leisure centres.
For more information on the available walks, please visit Age UK Stockport.