What do you love the most about going for festive winter walks? A study, commissioned by Ordnance Survey, has revealed that one in two Brits have said it’s the crisp fresh air that makes the walk, alongside the opportunity to leave some frosty footprints.
The survey of 2,000 people found the effects of a festive walk are also highly rated, with 50% pinpointing the mental and physical benefits to be had.
It was found that six in 10 are planning to set off on a stroll around Christmas or New Year, but what is it that makes the ideal festive walk? According to the respondents, being dressed warmly was the biggest aspect for women, receiving 50% of the vote, while men said it was being with family (39%).
34% also said an important part of the walk was being able to see the Christmas lights in the area, while 33% highlighted the opportunity it gave them to reconnect with nature.
The two most popular days for a leg stretch were revealed to be Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with the OnePoll study finding just under four in 10 people are planning to go for a walk then.
This is in contrast to New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, where one in five are planning to head off for a stroll.
The survey also looked into what the ideal length of time a walk would be is, with nearly four in 10 picking out one that lasted between 30 minutes to an hour.
Looking into what puts people off walking at this time of year, nearly one in two said it is the cold that deters them, while over a third said it’s the fact it gets dark so early. In fact, just over one in four adults have said the dark leaves them feeling unmotivated and they feel gloomy as a result of the winter months.
OS Managing Director for Leisure, Nick Giles, said: “There’s nothing quite like the magic of a Christmas walk, digging out the hats and gloves alongside family and friends before exploring the wintery scenery and all the lights, and then coming home to a hot warming drink and a bit of cake afterwards.”
“It’s great to hear that in 2021 so many of us are planning on enjoying the simple pleasure of walking outside in the fresh air at a time when there are so many other festive distractions going on.”
“The added benefit a festive walk brings is the physical and mental boost time outside away from the Christmas chaos, whether that’s from meeting and socialising when going on a stroll, making sure the dog gets regular exercise, or by just keeping active.”
He added: “We know there are many barriers that stop people going outside in winter, particularly when the weather is bad or if there is worry about icy conditions.”
“But we know spending time outdoors has a huge positive impact on people’s mental health.”
“People who are more physically active have lower rates of depression, they have improved mood and a single bout of exercise can dramatically impact on mood for the better.”
“So if it is a mild day that is safe to go out in this winter, we urge people to get their winter coats on and get outside, no matter even if it is for a short time.”
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