Stressed-out Scots turning to walking to stress-bust

Merry Christmas Jumpers

People in Scotland are finding their feet when it comes to stress-busting. Over half of those who ever feel stressed (52.7%) reported that they had gone for a walk either by themselves, or with others, in nature or green spaces to help them deal with feelings of stress, according to survey results commissioned and released today by the Ramblers – the charity which helps everyone, everywhere, enjoy walking and protects the places we all love to walk.
As the aftermath of the general election, Brexit and preparations for the imminent festive season combine to pile on the pressure, 48.3% of people polled said they often or always felt stressed. However, 90.5% of those polled agreed that walking in nature or green spaces helps them to unwind and relax. 
Whilst relaxing on the sofa was the single biggest solution turned to for dealing with feelings of stress – it was cited by half (63%) of Scotland respondents who ever feel stressed in this poll conducted by YouGov Plc – extremely high numbers of people reported experiencing positive well-being benefits from spending time walking in nature or green spaces. 71.4% said it made them feel peaceful and 60% said they felt happy.

The Ramblers' Festival of Winter Walks 

These new statistics are released as Ramblers Scotland’s 54 walking groups prepare to give everyone the chance to enjoy the wonderful winter landscape in good company – to relax, unwind and stress-bust, and to make new friends – by joining in with their Festival of Winter Walks (20 December 2019 to 5 January 2020). Across Scotland, friendly Ramblers volunteers will be hosting more than 80 group walks which anyone can join for free. 
There will be fun, winter-themed walks that families will love; urban wanders as well as countryside hikes; leisurely strolls under five miles for people new to walking; and longer walks for those wanting more of a challenge. You can find your nearest Ramblers Scotland group or festive walk online at:

Festive stress

Brendan Paddy, Ramblers Scotland director, said: “During the festive season, many people can feel overwhelmed, stressed, isolated or disconnected from the outside world. But as our survey results show, more and more of us are discovering the health and wellbeing benefits of getting off the sofa, getting out and walking, and reconnecting with nature to lift our mood. Whether or not you’re already a Ramblers member or an experienced walker, we’re really looking forward to welcoming you on a Ramblers Festival of Winter Walks group walk.”

Other key findings from the Ramblers’ new research include 45% of those surveyed in Scotland who have ever felt stressed said they had gone for a walk on their own to help them deal with feelings of stress, whilst 26.3% said they had gone for a walk with others.

People's Postcode Lottery

The Ramblers’ work to help everyone enjoy the benefits of walking is supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. TV presenter and People’s Postcode Lottery ambassador Matt Johnson, a keen winter walker, said:

“We can all benefit from reconnecting with nature this winter. I know walking has a hugely positive impact on how I feel, helping to blow away the cobwebs and feel better.

Thanks to the generous support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Ramblers Festival of Winter Walks will bring hundreds of people together outdoors, walking in winter in good company, escaping the everyday and finding a new place, at their pace, in beautiful scenery. 

Ramblers groups right across Great Britain will be leading walks throughout the festival, so just turn up for a welcoming walk near you.  Happy winter wandering!” 

PPL hats on group walk

Join this year's Festival of Winter Walks.