Walk with a Doc Initiative Boosts Health, Happiness, and Community in Edinburgh's Saughton Park
Local organisation provides valuable time with a doctor for individuals with long-term health conditions, improving their health and wellbeing.
In 2022 the University of Edinburgh funded the ‘Walk with a Doc’ initiative, a partnership between local organisation Health All Round, Sighthill Green Medical Practice, and the University. The project aimed to change patient behavior in a non-clinical setting by promoting engagement with greenspace to improve health and wellbeing.
Walk with a Doc
The Walk with a Doc initiative supported individuals with long-term health conditions to enhance their health and wellbeing through the use of greenspaces. The project organised local health walks that started with a health-related talk from a doctor, followed by a walk, and concluded with coffee, healthy snacks, and socialising opportunities.
“We know that time spent in nature is health giving, we know that accessing good quality medical advice from a health professional is crucial in helping people manage their own health and we think that by providing both of these things in one place regularly will make positive differences in people’s lives in particular those who would benefit most from this kind of intervention”
The initiative targeted a diverse group of individuals living in an inner-city area, ranging in age from 35 to 76. A series of monthly Walks with a Doc were conducted in Saughton Park over the summer as part of the 'Green Heart Parks' initiative. Each walk lasted approximately two hours and covered different routes within the park.
Health All Round
Health All Round is an organisation that aims to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Health All Round focuses on addressing health inequalities and promoting access to healthcare for marginalised and vulnerable populations. They work closely with individuals, families, and communities to provide support, information, and resources that empower people to take control of their own health.
Results of the project
Improved Understanding of Medical Conditions
Participants reported a better understanding of their medical conditions. Through the health talks provided at the beginning of each walk, individuals received valuable medical advice from healthcare professionals. This knowledge empowered them to better manage their health conditions.
Enhanced Management of Health Conditions
As a result of participating in the initiative, individuals became better equipped to manage their health conditions. They adopted lifestyle changes, such as increased physical activity through walking, which contributed to better overall health.
Increased Happiness and Social Connections
Participants reported increased happiness and expressed satisfaction with the initiative. By engaging in the walks, they formed new friendships and experienced a sense of belonging within the community. The social interactions during the walks and the time for conversation at the end provided opportunities for building relationships and reducing feelings of social isolation.
Individuals who took part in the Walk with a Doc initiative reported increased confidence. Regular participation in the walks allowed them to build self-assurance in managing their health, which positively influenced their overall well-being.