Lace up, get out: more young people walking for fun

Feet wearing walking boots

Perhaps it's the fabulous summer we had, maybe it's Instagrammers showing off their fancy hiking boots, but new stats suggest a lot more young people are going out for a walk just for the fun of it.

In fact 49 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds are walking as a leisure activity more frequently in 2018 than in previous years, which is quite a hike (get it? Sorry). Some 54 per cent go out once a week.

Over half (51 per cent) of the young adults polled said it's all about relaxation, while 47 per cent walk to improve their fitness and 46 per cent hike to help improve their mental health. For others it's about socialising (27 per cent) or new experiences (15 per cent).

The figures come from a poll of British adults commissioned by Merrell which, full disclosure, is an outdoor footwear brand – but does have a nice line of vegan-friendly boots.

Dr Andrew Murray, an ambassador with Merrell, NHS Inform, and researcher with the University of Edinburgh comments: "Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health. It adds years to life, improves physical and mental health, and even increases productivity.

"Walking regularly may be the best present you can give your body and brain. People are turning to walking because it makes them feel good and now science is proving that getting some exercise and fresh air is good for body and mind."

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