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Call to use countryside as Green Gym

One of Scotland’s leading health experts is calling for Scots to get a taste for the outdoors during the year of active Scotland.

Sir Kenneth Calman, former Chief Medical Officer and now Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland, said that taking advantage of the ‘green gym’, the nation’s stunning natural heritage is cheaper and of more benefit to families’ health and wellbeing than a gym membership. The views are better too.

The Year of Active Scotland begins on 1 January 2011, when the Scottish Government are inspiring the people of Scotland to be more active in their everyday lives in the run up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games and beyond.

Sir Kenneth, who was formerly the Chief Medical Officer in Scotland and then in England believes firmly in the health benefits of getting out into the countryside. He said: “Scotland’s landscape is the best gym you could ask for and there are so many ways to take advantage of the natural heritage on our doorstep.

“Whether it’s enjoying a brisk low level walk through Glencoe or a more challenging march up one of our 46 Munros, the Trust can offer you the perfect alternative to the treadmill.

“In the Spring, you can take to the water in a sea kayak at Kintail and the woodlands in Perthshire are perfect for family hikes at all time of year.

“We all know the benefits of exercise, but combine that our stunning scenery and it is a winning combination – and it’s all free. Why not make 2011 the year you resolve to get active and see some of Scotland’s most scenic spots at the same time?”

Minister for Public Health and Sport Shona Robison said: “Active Nation is about getting active, having fun and feeling good. It aims to energise and motivate all Scot’s to increase their physical activity in the run up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and beyond. That will be a games legacy Scotland can be truly proud of.

“In Scotland we have some of the world’s most spectacular scenery on our doorstep and what better way for people to increase their levels of physical activity than enjoying all that this country has to offer. With the Christmas holidays fast approaching even more people will be able to take the time to enjoy the Scottish countryside and I would encourage everyone to get outside and enjoy our natural landscape.”

Use Walkhighlands’ Find a Walk feature to search for walks of all kinds across Scotland.

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Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.