It is scientifically proven that to keep in shape and give you energy, there is nothing quite like walking, in any circumstance and at any age, RTBF reports.
Belgian association Tous à pied, which works to develop the culture of utilitarian and leisure walking, wants to encourage people to get fit in this easy and inexpensive way by providing guided strolls and advice.
The popularity of walking as a leisure and fitness activity has developed strongly in recent years and, since the end of the confinement measures linked to the pandemic, it has taken on even more of a significant place in a lot of people’s health regimes.
Everyone is a pedestrian first and foremost
“It must be said that we are all pedestrians,” explained Virginie Hess, Nature Storyteller for La Grande Forme.
“We walk every day to go to work, to school, to the bakery, to take the bus, and even to make the last metres to our destination after parking the car. With this in mind, the rights, needs and duties of walkers must therefore be taken into account, in the same way as those of other users of public space such as cyclists, drivers of cars and public transport.”
Tous à Pied aims to be the voice of pedestrians in Wallonia and Brussels, with a goal of ensuring walkers of all ages can move around safely and comfortably. Through advice, studies and projects, it acts on the various aspects that affect pedestrians in their daily lives, such as road safety, the quality of sidewalk pavements, the atmosphere on the street, etc.
“Walking is the form of exercise that most seniors can engage in regularly and over a sustained period of time. It is also a pleasant activity, which only requires a pair of comfortable and well-fitting shoes, ensuring good foot support,” Hess says. “Walking for even five minutes offers many benefits: reduction of stress and anxiety, improvement of physical condition, reduction of cardiovascular risks, social engagement with others, and the improvement of concentration among others.”
Organised walking routes educate pedestrians on biodiversity
As well as providing a “five minutes per day” plan for those wanting to harness these benefits of walking over a period of weeks, Tous à pied also offers help organising a walk focused on biodiversity, “a fun activity that promotes discovery and encounters.”
Such walks are generally a tailor-made map route of around five kilometres on which temporary QR Code tags are placed. These contain information specially developed according to the circuit and allow participants to observe the fauna and flora present, to understand the ecological corridors or to explain the usefulness of the trails.
This project is aimed at anyone who wishes to walk around making discoveries and can be implemented by municipalities, associations, initiative unions, tourist offices, or citizen groups. Once the Nature Walk is over, volunteers from Tous à pied retrieve the QR code signs in order to leave no trace.