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By GM Walking | 02 October 2023 | TAGS: walking, Stockport, Salford, Local Pilot, Long term health conditions

People with long-term health conditions in Salford and Stockport are building up their belief and activity levels thanks to new Confidence Walks being held at local leisure centres.

As part of the GM Walking Festival, Lisa Arrandale and Colin Mills at Life Leisure Avondale in Stockport set up an indoor walk in their sports hall.

The walk brought people together to get more active in a social setting with many attendees experiencing a health challenge such as cancer, respiratory conditions, heart disease, or musculoskeletal issues.

The walks have proved a big success with attendees enjoying the safe and supportive environment and the chance to have a chat and a brew with other walkers.

Patrick, who has chronic back pain, comes to the walk with his visually impaired wife Margaret who appreciated the indoor space as there were no obstacles in her path.

Both Patrick and Margaret said that the walks are helping them to get more physically active and both have since taken up additional activities like swimming and using the gym. Another walker, Pat, had recently had a hip replacement and was using the walk to help in her recovery.

Many participants were also part of the Stockport Move to a Mile event – an eight-week pilot programme to help the least active residents more move, culminating in a celebration at the Stockport Mile.

They supported each other through the training walks and encouraged each other on the day, with everyone being able to complete the mile; something far beyond them just weeks before.

Inspired by Stockport's successes, Jo Bennett from the Active Lifestyle Team at Salford Community Leisure has begun a Confidence Walk trial at Worsley Leisure Centre.

Len, who has arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a previous cancer diagnosis, attends, he loves the social aspect of the walks and says it’s doing great things for his fitness too.

Jenny joined the walks after experiencing ongoing dizziness and health anxiety following a heart attack last year - the indoor walks have helped her build up her balance to a point where she can now take part in other activities like tai chi and aqua aerobics.

Carole Pollard, GM Moving’s Community Workforce Champions Lead, said:

“Providing safe, supportive indoor walks can help make a huge difference to the health and happiness of people with disabilities and long-term conditions.

“Walking is the easiest and most accessible way to get people moving more and it’s great to see Stockport and Salford having such success with their Confidence Walks.”

For more information, community-based exercise referral in Stockport and Salford see their websites and if you’re interested in setting up Confidence Walks in your area contact us here.

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