Scotland’s Natural Health Service

We know that the quality and accessibility of our natural environment is key to good physical and mental health. Evidence shows us that a population closer to nature is healthier and that health disparities between high and low income groups are much narrower in areas with ample greenspace (parks, walking routes etc.)

Having good quality greenspace which people regularly use could save the NHS as much as £94 million a year as people become fitter and healthier.

(Source: NHS Health Scotland – Costing the burden of ill health related to Physical Inactivity for Scotland – 2013)

  • Do you use greenspace to keep active?
  • What can be done in your area to help you?


If you are thinking about starting to get active outdoors and would like to meet new people too, then why not explore some of the these options that are suitable for all levels of fitness:

Medal Routes.

Medal Routes is a Scotland-wide initiative created by Ramblers Scotland to support people across the country to be more active and build walking into their daily lives. Medal Routes are short, circular walks lasting 15, 30 or 60 minutes from a hub location (such as a library, sports centre or café).

Doctors agree that the moderate exercise from regularly walking these medal routes helps protect the body from many illnesses and conditions, including heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, obesity, the most common type of diabetes and many cancers. It’s also a great way to relieve stress and stay happy.

Visit the Take 30 website to find out more.

Green Gyms.

Green Gyms are fun and free outdoor sessions created and run by The Conservation Volunteers Scotland. TCV involve a range of practical activities such as planting trees, sowing meadows, looking after paths, and establishing wildlife ponds.

Unlike other conservation projects, the emphasis is very much on health and fitness – volunteers warm up and cool down in preparation for a range of light to vigorous activities to suit all abilities. In fact, almost a third more calories can be burnt in some Green Gym sessions than in an average aerobics class.

In addition to physical health benefits, green Gyms also enhance mental wellbeing through increased contact with nature, the social benefits of group activity and helping people contribute something positive to their community.

Visit the TCV website to find out more.


Paths for All.

Paths for All is a Scottish charity who champion everyday walking as the way to a happier, healthier Scotland. They aim to significantly increase the number of people who choose to walk in Scotland for leisure, for work, to school or to the shops.

Paths for All want to create a happier, healthier Scotland, where increased physical activity improves quality of life and wellbeing for all. They work to develop more opportunities and better environments not just for walking, but also for cycling and other activities, to help make Scotland a more active, more prosperous, greener country.

Visit the Paths for all website to find out more.

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Healthier Scotland

The Scottish Government is inviting you to have your say on what a healthier Scotland should look like in the next 10 to 15 years.

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