Last year we funded a research project to understand older people’s experiences of walking in winter. This work involved a collaborative project with Durham University’s Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Since then, we have created a booklet full of top tips for anyone helping older adults to be active this winter.
Over the past few weeks, postgraduate researcher, Miles Lowson has been sharing these top tips with walk leaders, walk providers, and community groups. In this article, Miles tells us about how he’s gone about this and some initial feedback he has received.
Firstly, it has been very worthwhile being able to go on the walks and revisit some of the people who initially took part in the study. Without their input, the whole project and subsequent impact it has had would not have been possible. People who took part in the research project were all very happy to see that their contributions have influenced potentially improving walking provision and walking groups across the UK. Seeing the outcome of their input might even increase their likelihood to get involved in future research projects. They were also very enthusiastic upon seeing authentic photos of their groups in the booklet.
Secondly, it’s been great to communicate the booklet to walk leaders across County Durham. With the help of the Walk Durham website, I’ve been able to pick out walks in Lanchester, Peterlee, Shildon and Beamish. Handing out copies of the booklet to walk leaders on these walks. The walk leaders have all been very happy to hear about the research. It’s our sincerest hope that the top tips will build on the great work they are already doing and help them to support older adults in being more active in winter.
Finally, the booklet has been warmly received, by partners we have been working with across the board. Organisations such as Durham County Council, Live Longer Better, The Ramblers, Living Streets, Movemates, We Are Undefeatable and the Walk and Talk Trust amongst others have shared it within their organisations.
Here’s what some people had to say about the walking booklet:
Peter Dutton, (Activation Manager, We Are Undefeatable) “The Walking in a Winter Wonderland at Any Age booklet, created by County Durham Sport, is a fantastic resource to support older adults to be active during the colder and darker months, when it can be more challenging to find that motivation to move more. The booklet shares the many benefits of walking, why walk leaders are so important to creating an inviting atmosphere for walking as we age, and some top tips for any people that wish to become walk leaders too. The booklet has positivity running right through it and is suitable for older people, and those living with long term health conditions, as walking can be a great option for those getting started on their physical activity journey, which can be incorporated into daily life.”
Keiron Young, (Operational Team, Walk and Talk Trust) “I think the information provides reassurance that walking is a year-round activity. It is a useful guide for walk leaders, reinforcing good practice.”
Sharon Pounder, (Sports and Wellbeing Manager, Peterlee Town Council) “The booklet is a great resource to share with new and existing walkers. It promotes all the benefits of walking, and is bright, colourful, and easy to read. We have made the booklet available in our community building and will be setting up a link on our social media pages to reach a wider audience to help get residents in Peterlee more active in the great outdoors.”
Finally, Move Mates tweeted about the booklet “We love this! Loads of great ideas about keeping walking in winter (all relevant country wide) and our amazing #Durham project features too. Do have a read and check out the booklet”: https://countydurhamsport.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/CDS-Walking-in-Winter-Booklet_FINAL-1.pdf