NEW signs marking walking routes have been installed in a Chester park to help people fight flab and beat the winter blues.
The healthy living scheme at the Countess of Chester Country Park is now up and running.
Welcomed by local health chiefs, it incorporates a number of routes and the signs show walkers how far they have travelled.
The news comes after it was revealed Cheshire West and Chester has a higher than average number of overweight or obese adults, and a growing problem with childhood obesity.
Euan Hall, chief executive of The Land Trust, said: “The Countess of Chester Country Park provides a haven of greenery, wildlife and footpaths enabling walkers, cyclists and wheelchair users to benefit from being active outdoors.
“The installation of these new way markers for healthy walks is an excellent addition to the park and I hope they will encourage many more people to become active on this site and many of our others.”
Alongside the introduction of the measured walks, the park will be hosting a series of events to help people to get walking more.
These include Healthy Walks with a trained leader, who will be able to help and advise people of all fitness levels, and a Nordic Walking Group, which will introduce visitors the Park to this increasingly popular activity.
Kathryn de Beger, Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust occupational health and wellbeing manager, added: “Small changes we make to our lifestyle can have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing.
“Walking can help combat serious health issues and also improve our mental health.
“Most of us need to be more physically active and walking in the country park is a local, cost-effective and social way to exercise.”
The introduction of the walks has already sparked some healthy competition among staff at the nearby hospital.
Linda Cunningham from the hospital’s human resources team, said: “It has been a great benefit having the country park just across from our office.
“Many of the staff has been able to take advantage of the park to get away from our desks and do a brisk walk at lunchtimes.
“There is even friendly competition to see who can do the route in the quickest time!”
Avril Devaney, director of nursing, therapies and patient partnership at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Taking part in physical activity can be a great way to meet people and a chance of taking a well-deserved break.
“The park provides a haven of greenery and fresh air for people who access our services, visitors and our staff.
“As well as well as improving physical health, an active life can help to improve feelings of self-worth and foster confidence which are important for good mental health.”