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Step out over the holidays and boost your health

Family enjoying the beach. Image source: Visit Wales

Walking on the Wales Coast Path does more than blow the cobwebs away or provide a great day out – a new report shows that it also actually helps people live longer.

Walking on the Wales Coast Path does more than blow the cobwebs away or provide a great day out – a new report shows that it also actually helps people live longer.

The report by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) found that with an average of more than 23,000 walkers using the path every week, the equivalent of seven lives are saved each year.

The health benefits from this physical activity have been valued at £18.3m per year, so walking the Coast Path is not just good for you, it’s good for Wales as a whole.

Sue Rice, Wales Coast Path Project Manager at NRW said:

"Outdoor exercise such as walking has many health benefits, but historically it’s been difficult to prove what they are."

"In this case we have calculated the lives saved and made longer because of additional physical activity to measure the value to people’s health."

The report uses the internationally respected Health Economic Assessment Tool for Walking (HEAT) method to calculate the economic value of health benefits of a project.

HEAT is traditionally used by transport planners to measure the economic value of the health benefits of walking and cycling for commuting, but has been adapted to measure the specific health effects of walking for recreation for the first time.

Sue Rice added:

"This ground breaking use of the methodology can now be used by organisations worldwide to calculate the benefits of walking for recreation."

The Minister for Natural Resources, Carl Sargeant said:

"This report demonstrates that the Wales Coast Path really makes a difference, benefiting the health of everyone who walks along it."

"Now there is even more of a reason to enjoy a walk along part of the 870 miles over the festive period."

The Wales Coast Path has been developed by the Welsh Government in partnership with Natural Resources Wales, sixteen local authorities and two National Parks.

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