There are an estimated 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK, a figure that is projected to rise to 4 million by 2030.1
Physical activity can benefit patients at all stages of the cancer care pathway. Keeping active can improve survival rates, help maintain quality of life, improve sleep, have mental health benefits, reduce fatigue and risk of falls.2 In some cases, being physically active has been shown to slow disease progression, improve survival and reduce the chance of recurrence.3
Macmillan walking groups have been developed and delivered through a partnership project between Paths for All and Macmillan Cancer Support as part of the national Macmillan Move More Scotland programme.
We now have over 80 weekly Macmillan health walks across Scotland. There are two different types of walks; Move More Walks are specifically for people affected by cancer and Macmillan Friendly Walks are open to everyone. Both walks are social, low level, local, volunteer led, free and short (from 10min up to an hour). A Macmillan-trained volunteer walk leader is there to support walkers at a pace and distance that’s right for them, starting slowly and building up gradually over time.
Along the routes benches and toilets are available, footpaths are clear, and a shorter route is available if needed. Walks begin and end at a venue with appropriate facilities, often finishing in a café for a cuppa tea and chat afterwards.
“It’s good for the spirit and it gives you something to look forward to. I am now walking further than I ever would have imagined and my physical and mental wellbeing has greatly improved.”
Anonymous, Dumfries & Galloway
“After this illness I suffered considerable muscle loss and the walking group has aided my recovery and fitness in a pleasant and interesting way. Also, it opens up new friendships with fellow recoverees. If at all possible do it, as it is a very enjoyable way of helping your recovery.”
As highlighted in Walking Works, walking is the nearest activity to perfect exercise. It is a free, gentle, low-impact activity that requires no special training or equipment. Almost everyone can do it, anywhere and at any time. It is easy to start slowly and build up gradually, as well as being the ideal exercise to fit around everyday life.
Patients can self-refer into the Move More programme or referrals can be made by Health and Social Care Professionals. To find out more about Macmillan walking groups please contact your local Move More project to register visit www.pathsforall.org.uk