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16 August 2017

NHSG/51/17

Hundreds in the North-east get active with walking app

An app designed to boost the fitness of people across the region is now helping hundreds get active.

The Medal Routes app was developed by Ramblers Scotland and has also been adopted by NHS Grampian to help staff and patients build exercise into their daily routines. As well as mapped routes covering locations across the region, many of the walks are based around GP surgeries and hospital sites with walks of 15, 30, and 60 minutes.

Chris Littlejohn, NHS Grampian's Deputy Director of Public Health, said the introduction of the app promoting convenient walking routes is a step in the right direction. He said: "I applaud this collaboration between NHS Grampian and Ramblers Scotland and it is great to see staff, patients and the general public using Medal Routes to increase their activity levels."

To celebrate the success of the app, users across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray are in the running to win a weekend away in the Western Isles. All users have to do is complete walks using the app by 8 September.  The more times people complete a Medal Route, the more times they will be entered into the competition.

Rob Burns, Ramblers Scotland Senior Project Officer, said: "We hope this exciting new competition will inspire even more people in the North-east of Scotland to try our Medal Routes app and get walking. As well as being in with the chance of winning a wonderful holiday, walking with Medal Routes helps people become more active, healthy and happy."

Along with walking, app users can set and track personal health goals to improve their physical activity levels. To date, more than 8,000 people have registered on the app nationwide, with new walks added daily.

Dawn Bruce, who works for NHS Grampian, said the app has helped her incorporate exercise into her daily routine. She said: "I thought it would be a great incentive to get out of the office at lunchtimes for some fresh air. The walks made me feel like I had accomplished something in my break and I felt rejuvenated for the afternoon. I now aim to get out every lunchtime for a walk.

"The medal routes app is a great tool to encourage you to get away from the work place for some fresh air and exercise which in turn helps you to feel more active and alert for the rest of the day."

Fellow Medal Routes user, Ian Furness, said the app has given him the support he needed to improve his fitness. He said: "I found out about it through my local doctors surgery and the app made me realise that I need to get more active. After doing my first walk I was tired but felt motivated and I now know what walks are available around my local area.

"This can be used by all, no matter what ability or level of fitness and really encourages people to walk more and get healthy. I am now walking more and doing other activities too."

For more information about Medal Routes and the competition visit www.ramblers.org.uk/nhsmedalroutes