THE Paths to Health Walk It programme throughout the Scottish Borders has seen a 45 per cent attendance increase on previous years with 10,913 walkers attending walks this year.

Walk It, which is funded by Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders, aims to work in partnership to reduce health inequalities and build networks to tackle long term conditions, forming part of the national initiative to improve Scotland’s Health.

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The walks have broadened their focus to include the entire region after their success in Walkerburn, Burnfoot, Eyemouth, Langlee and Selkirk, and this year 1,232 mainstream Walk It Walks were delivered, an increase of 60 per cent on previous years.

Walk It have ensured continued development into new methods that encourage wellness and physical activity by working with other organisations. This has led to the local project having the highest number of dementia-friendly walks in the whole of Scotland, with 32 of all 43 regular walking groups being dementia friendly.

Councillor David Parker, Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing, said: “The Walk It initiative offers an excellent way to explore your local area and other towns throughout the Scottish Borders.

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“This year, the programme welcomed 78 new volunteer walk leaders, without whom these walks wouldn’t be possible, and attracted an average of 11 participants on each walk, above the national average.

“There is something for everyone, including Walk It Easy Walks designed for those with a mobility issues or long-term health conditions, and I would encourage anyone who can, to go along and support these local walks and continue the success for years ahead.”

Visit to find out more, including when and where walks take place.

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Dr Sohail Bhatti, Director of Public Health at NHS Borders, said: “Walking is one of the easiest ways of getting more physically active and can help to improve your health and wellbeing.

“Walking is ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels - it’s free, easy to build into daily routines, and doesn’t need any special equipment. A brisk ten minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and can count towards your recommended daily amount of exercise.”