Wearsiders told that getting fit really is a stroll

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A MASS walking event is aiming to get Wearside fit.

People across the city are being urged to put their best foot forward next week for an event designed to celebrate National Walk4Life Day.

The walk takes place at Herrington Country Park on Saturday, September 24.

The programme of activities on the day will include:

* Wellness Walking Programme, led health walks.

* Big Nordic Walk (four-hour walk.)

* Mass Walk4Life Mile challenge.

* Mums on the move (with child and pushchair)

* Wellness … It’s a Walk in the Park – marked one, two and three-mile walking routes.

* Active Sunderland Bus.

Jennifer Smith, 35, of Penshaw, said: “It seems like a great idea and I’ll pop along with my two-year-old daughter Alice. I want her to know from an early age how important it is to keep fit.”

Councillor Dave Allan, Sunderland City Council portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said: “The day is a fantastic way to raise awareness of the benefits of walking.

“It’s a simple form of physical activity which all the family can take part in, and at no cost. It is a great way to keep active and it can contribute significantly to a healthier life.”

National Walk4Life Day, on Sunday, September 25, includes events up and down the country.

Sunderland City Council’s Wellness Walking Programme is led by a number of Volunteer Walk Leaders (VWLs).

Fran Smith, 44, from Grindon is one of the Volunteer Walk Leaders. She said: “Being a walk leader is great as I get to help people improve their health and well being and I meet some great people whilst leading the walks.

“The walking programme has been running for a year now. We have a lot of people each week who take part in our health walks.

“I think it is fantastic that people have the opportunity to see for themselves how much fun walking can be at an event like this.”

Councillor Mel Speding, Cabinet Secretary for Sunderland City Council, said: “Walking is such a great form of exercise but it is one which people perhaps take for granted.

“Almost anyone can do it, anywhere and at any time and without the need for any kind of specialist equipment.

“I would urge people to come along to the free event on September 24. It is a fantastic starting point for people to get involved in walking, with lots of different routes and distances. And the scenery in Herrington Country Park makes the perfect backdrop for a family walk.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho