Fitness: Step out for National Walking Month

It’s National Walking Month: time to boost health, fitness and wellness too, by joining one of our area’s top walking groups. Velvet’s Riadh Falvo steps out


OneLife (55969992)
OneLife (55969992)

It was early 2021, during lockdown, that the centre manager at a single Suffolk village hall invited residents to train as Wellbeing Walk leaders. The intent was to bring the community together through exercise and, of course, encourage socialising along the rambles. The free-to-join walks proved so beneficial, today OneLife offers more than 200 volunteer-led Wellbeing Walks across the whole of Suffolk. Taken over very manageable terrain, shorter walks take place weekly and are usually 10 to 30 minutes in length, while the maximum length of a walk could be up to 90 minutes. Walks are organised locally and are easily accessible by foot or local public transport.

Contact OneLife Suffolk:

(01473) 718193


Walk Cambridge

Aimed at people in their 20s, 30s and 40s living in or near Cambridge and Peterborough, Walk Cambridge is an active walking and social group associated with The Ramblers. The programme offers walks throughout Cambridgeshire and a website that showcases a Walk Diary, Social Diary and even Trips Away, that guests can join throughout the year.

Contact Walk Cambridge:

Nordic Walkers

Nordic Walking (stock image)
Nordic Walking (stock image)

Nordic Walking uses specially designed poles that assist in working all of the major muscles in the body, without putting unnecessary strain on joints. The website is maintained by Mervyn S. Foster, who trained with British Nordic Walking and became an instructor. Although he no longer runs Nordic Walking classes himself, he is more than happy to direct site visitors to active qualified instructors in the Cambridgeshire area. The website boasts that Nordic Walking can burn between 20% and 40% more calories than ordinary walking, using the poles specifically for propulsion: “By using the strength of your upper body, as well as your legs, to propel yourself forwards, you actually work harder and burn more energy, whilst at the same time it actually feels easier!”

Contact Nordic Walkers:

(01480) 878111

Newmarket Ramblers

Newmarket Ramblers (stock image)
Newmarket Ramblers (stock image)

While the Newmarket Ramblers are based in Suffolk, the group attracts and welcomes members from across Cambridgeshire, too. If you haven’t heard of Ramblers, it is a UK-wide charitable foundation “whose aim it is to help all persons to a greater love, knowledge and care of the countryside and urban open spaces, and to encourage participation in walking for recreation and as a means of transport”. Like most walking groups, the Newmarket Ramblers are welcoming to walkers of all levels and walk most Sundays throughout the year. Full-day walks are usually 10 miles, while half-day walks are up to five miles in length. A second offering of a five-miler takes place every Wednesday morning, and you can join for jaunts in the evenings during the warmer summer months.

Contact Newmarket Ramblers:

Wellbeing Walks

Wellbeing Walks (stock image)
Wellbeing Walks (stock image)

Lead by Cambridge City Council, Wellbeing Walks is a developing programme of short, friendly group walks that are geared to help people become, and stay, active. Wellbeing walks are led by trained volunteers, are free to join, and everybody is welcome. The programme was developed with the Ramblers, of course, with the assistance of local authorities, with walks offered every Wednesday from Abbey Leisure Complex at 2pm, and 10am on the fourth Thursday of the month from Nightingale recreation ground. Places should be booked via the website.

Contact Wellbeing Walks:

Time Outdoors

Time Outdoors is the UK's largest collection of outdoor events with thousands of runs, bike rides, walks, swims, triathlons, adventure races and more to pick from. The events calendar includes running, cycling, walking, triathlon, adventure racing, swimming, and paddle sports. Outdoor Clubs, Trips Away, and Outdoor Challenges are also featured. You can find an event near you using the search or browse around for some inspiration

Contact Time Outdoors:

Cambridge Women’s Resources Centre

While researching this article, I also caught up with walking enthusiast Valerie Barber who was taking part in a challenge to walk 100 miles in March for Mind. “Walking has been so therapeutic and I feel happier and stronger both mentally and physically,” says Valerie. “I intend to continue walking and have signed up to walk 500,000 steps in July, August and September for Diabetes”. The Mind challenge was posted on Facebook, however you can follow more of Valerie’s walking adventures via her instagram account @vbsunnydisposition. While the 100 miles challenge was predominantly a solitary journey, Valerie also has joined The Ramblers as well and takes part in a walking group every Tuesday with Cambridge Women’s Resources Centre.

Contact CWRC:

(01223) 321148

Cambridge Dog Lovers

Cambridge Dog Lovers (stock image)
Cambridge Dog Lovers (stock image)

Led by local residents and dog lovers Ben and Suryash, walkers can join Cambridge Dog Lovers via Meetup online any time and sign up for frequent walks with or without a dog. Bertie the black Lab is always present and is a registered Therapy Dog. The main purpose of the group is health and wellbeing and bringing people together whether you have a dog or just love being around them. Say Ben and Suryash: “Maybe you are missing your family dog, are thinking about getting a dog, just love being around dogs, or maybe you have a dog and would like them to meet and play with other dogs.” Their most recent walk ended with brunch at Hot Numbers Roastery in Shepreth!

Contact Cambridge Dog Lovers:

Read more

More by this author