An award-winning walking scheme that helps Ribble Valley residents take strides in health and fitness has launched its 2016 winter programme.
Stepping Out was set up in 2004 to promote walking as an effective, low-risk activity for those who are inactive.
Started with a handful of volunteers and two treks a week, it now offers a bustling programme of weekly walks of varying lengths and difficulty facilitated by an enthusiastic team of more than 30 specially-trained volunteer walk leaders.
It attracts more than 130 weekly participants, 80 per cent of who have been attending Stepping Out for more than two years.
Stepping Out coordinator Barrie Williams said: “Winter can be the perfect time to walk. The invigorating cold air can clear your mind and reduce stress, while getting outside during daylight hours also increases levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin.
“You don’t have to be fit to walk and the elderly, as well as those recovering from illness, can enjoy it – and it’s free.
“Stepping Out encourages people who might not otherwise be active to enjoy the benefits of walking in a friendly, welcoming and non-competitive environment.
“It is now one of Lancashire’s most successful health programmes and we are delighted that it is going from strength to strength.
“I would like to thank our team of dedicated volunteers for helping to make the scheme such a success.”
Stepping Out’s winter programme includes short, gentle treks for residents with restricted mobility, intermediate walks and tougher off-road trails. More details are available from Barrie Williams on 01200 414484.