PruHealth and the National Trust have reported that more than 32 million people plan to head outdoors to enjoy an autumn family walk, new research has shown.*
Over 16 million (33%) say it's the season's beautiful colours that makes autumn walking so special.
To celebrate the season and to promote the virtues of being active, the National Trust is holding its first ever National Festival of Walking this October half-term, with at least 50,000 people expected to take part.
The National Trust has partnered with a leading health insurer PruHealth to organise around 1,000 events all over the country, from barefoot walks to silly walks, adventure walks to wildlife walks.
The festival is the perfect opportunity for the public to get outdoors and have fun, especially with 41% of adults saying they don't spend enough time with their families. **
William Wake from the National Trust's outdoors team said: "From leaf kicking to finding conkers and wrapping up warm, there is something simply delicious about an autumn walk.
"We're asking people to tell us what they think makes autumn walks so special, to see if we can identify the perfect formula for a family outing this half term."
Events are taking place at 180 sites in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 22-30 October.
There will also be more than 800 free walking routes available to download from the National Trust website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walks.
People can also log their own favourite walks on an interactive map on the website, and join a debate on the best things about autumn walking on the National Trust's Facebook pages or on Twitter using #walkfest from October 20.
Dr Katherine Tryon, Head of Clinical Vitality for PruHealth, added: "The Walking Festival is a great way to get active with the whole family, and there are walks to suit all fitness levels.
"Government guidelines*** recommend we walk 10,000 steps a day, and just thirty minutes of brisk walking each day can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, maintain a healthy weight, improve self-esteem and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
"The average walk at the National Trust is three to four miles, which is approximately 6,000-8,000 steps - well on the way to reaching the target while having a fun day out. When you're healthy, you can get more out of life - come along and see."
Notes to editors:
* Total sample size of family walks survey was 2065 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 7th - 10th October 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). Based on a UK population of 49,122,200 reported by the Office of National Statistics as of June 30 2011. 66% of adults = 32420652 and 33% of that number is 16210326. Calculations carried out by the National Trust. Full results from YouGov available on request from the National Trust Press Office
PruHealth was launched into the UK market in October 2004 as a joint venture between Discovery and UK insurer, Prudential, in response to a growing need for consumer-directed health insurance products. Customers can get a health insurance quote online on the PruHealth website.
PruHealth has received several industry awards. Most recently being the Best PMI Provider at the 2011 Moneyfacts Awards, as well as the Most Trusted Private Medical Insurance (PMI) Provider at the 2010 Moneywise Awards, the Best PMI Provider at the 2009 Moneyfacts Awards, Best use of Marketing to Intermediaries (Brokers) at the 2010 Health Insurance awards and the award for the Best Individual PMI provider at the 2010 Health Insurance Awards and 2010 Cover Excellence awards.
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