Stressed-out Brits turning to walking to stress-bust

Merry Christmas Jumpers

Brits are finding their feet when it comes to stress-busting. Over half of those who ever feel stressed (55.9%) 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 our YouGov survey results commissioned and released today.

As the aftermath of the general election, Brexit and preparations for the imminent festive season combine to pile on the pressure, 34.3% of people polled said they often felt stressed, with 33.8% reporting sometimes feeling stressed and 8% saying they always felt stressed. 

However, 89.9% 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 (56.3%) of overall respondents who ever feel stressed and 66.8% of 25-34  year olds 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. 70.1% said it made them feel peaceful; 69.8% said it made them feel calm and 58.7% said they felt happy.

The Ramblers Festival of Winter Walks 

These new statistics are released as the Ramblers’ 500 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). Right across Great Britain, friendly Ramblers local groups will be hosting group walks which anyone can join for free. 

There will be fun, winter-themed walks that children 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 group or festive group walk on our website. 

Festive stress

Vanessa Griffiths, the Ramblers’ chief executive 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.”

Our survey also found: 

  • Buying presents was far and away the most popular reason for ‘festive stress’ reported by those surveyed: nearly half of them (44.3%) cited it as reason for ever feeling stressed during the festive season. In second place was feeling the pressure to go to parties or celebrate, which was cited by 28.6% of respondents.

  • 45.4% of those surveyed who have ever felt stressed said they had gone for a walk on their own to help them deal with feelings of stress, whilst 28.2% 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

Walking with the Ramblers 

Pauline Scott went through a long, hard divorce, only to lose her mother suddenly in March. Feeling lost and grief-stricken, although she had never really walked any distance before, she contacted Darlington Ramblers, who encouraged her to come along and give it a go. Now a Ramblers member, Pauline says: “I have never looked back. The group are very friendly and inclusive, and both my mental well-being and fitness have improved. Just being in the great outdoors has helped me move forward, along with seeing things you never see when you drive everywhere – Nature’s hidden secrets. So, thank you Ramblers!”

Join this year's Festival of Winter Walks.