FAMILIES across East Renfrewshire are being encouraged to use walking to beat loneliness and boost mental wellbeing.

Walking charity Paths for All has suggested going for a regular stroll can bring benefits to people of all ages by helping to reduce stress.

Dr Gregor Smith, Scotland’s chief medical officer, said: “Regular walking is a powerful tonic. It helps to boost our immune system and those of us able to should strive to get the benefit this winter.

“A 30-minute daily walk is one of the best ways to look after yourself and it’s something we can do from our own front door.

“During periods of physical distancing, isolation and uncertainty, many have expressed increased feelings of anxiety or stress. Daily outdoor exercise, while adhering to guidelines, is an important way to improve physical and mental wellbeing.

“We would encourage those who are able to get outdoors this winter to do so, even if it is for a short walk to the shop or to school.”

The plea comes as the charity launched its Walk Once a Day this Winter campaign and online content hub, which highlights the importance of a daily walk to maintain physical and mental wellbeing.

The hub provides a variety of ideas and information designed to motivate people to head outdoors and get moving.

Ian Findlay CBE, chief officer at Paths for All, said: “Over the last few months, walking has become more popular.

“We would encourage individuals to keep this up, even if it is for just a short walk round the block.

“We believe that, by encouraging people to walk every day, they will experience positive physical, social and mental health benefits and, in turn, we will move forward as a healthier, greener, safer and happier nation.”

You can follow the campaign on Paths for All’s social media channels by searching for the #WalkOnceADay hashtag.