Health Walks in Sheffield
Sheffield’s first Health Walk was established in 1999 as part of a nation-wide pilot study to evaluate the benefits of walking in patients with coronary heart disease. Over the years the scheme has grown, and we now offer accessible walks from over twenty locations across the city each week.
Health Walks differ from speed-walking and rambles. Firstly, walkers are encouraged to go at a speed they are comfortable with, whatever their ability. Secondly, there are time and distance limits. No walk is more than 3 miles in distance and we rarely walk for more than an hour. Most walks are 45-55 minutes but to suit some walkers, we offer much shorter ones (10 to 15 minutes). Finally, we don’t do stiles (well only rarely!) or ploughed fields.
Health Walks are not just important for encouraging you to get more exercise, they are a very valuable way to socialise. By chatting before during and after the walk social contact is maintained and, very often, new friendships forged. For some of our walkers their weekly health walk is the one time in the week when they get out to socialise. For this reason, all walks end with the opportunity to sit down with fellow walkers and enjoy a cuppa. Some walks start at a community centre with facilities for the volunteers to ‘mash’, other walks start at a café. The after-walk cup of tea is so important that on the rare occasions when rain is really heavy, the walk is cancelled but the tea happens anyway!
Age is not a bar to joining a health walk, even if you have never walked before. Come and do what you can, a trained leader will be on hand to make sure you don’t over-do it initially and to encourage you to do more as the weeks progress. Our two oldest walkers are now 94 years old!
Many chronic illnesses respond favourably to walking. A stroll round the park is good for your joints, excellent for maintaining poise and balance, and can help reduce blood pressure and manage diabetes. Walking in the fresh air is also helpful in the management of depression and other mental health conditions. Health walks are a good way to help you rehabilitate after surgery and they are brilliant for cancer patients both during and after treatment.
Initially, Step out Sheffield walks were accredited by Walking for Health, a national Health Walk scheme which was funded variously by the British Heart Foundation, Natural England and MacMillan Cancer Support. The Ramblers administered Walking for Health between 2012 and 2021 but have now incorporated their WfH schemes into the Ramblers portfolio and rebranded them Ramblers Wellbeing Walks. Step Out Sheffield has become one of 400 Ramblers Wellbeing Walks schemes across the country and our official name is now Ramblers Wellbeing Walks Step Out Sheffield (RWW Step out Sheffield). Re-branding has not affected service delivery. Our walks continue to be short, led walks that are accessible to all and most walk venues will continue to offer a range of walks to suit all levels of ability. All our walks continue to be delivered by trained volunteer leaders. The only change at ground-level will be the way registration is conducted at the start of the walk with the gradual introduction of technology to record attendances. Until now our walks have always been known as Health Walks. Ramblers are concerned that the use of the word health might put people off attending so we now describe them as accessible walks. In practice, the service we offer now is no different to the walks we have been providing here in Sheffield for the past 23 years under Walking for Health.We’d love to see you on a walk soon. There’s no need to book. Simply turn up about 10 minutes before the start of the walk and introduce yourself to one of the volunteer leaders.Walk leaders wear green fleeces and/or hi-viz jackets:
If you would like more information about the suitability of these walks for you, please drop us an email or call our Help-line: 075 0563 9524.
Please note: RWW Step Out Sheffield walks don’t stop during school holidays!
However, we don't walk if ground conditions are dangerously icy, if the Met office has issued a weather warning (red, amber or yellow) for our area, or during Christmas week when our dedicated team of volunteers get to take a break. Also some walks don't take place on Bank holidays if their venue is not accessible.