Walking is the most highly-recommended form of keeping fit and looking after one’s heart. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends walking 30 minutes a day as a way of keeping muscles and joints in good shape and helping blood circulation.
For the last few years, family doctors at the Sagrada Família and Roger de Flor primary healthcare centres have been recommending patients with high cholesterol, diabetes or dyslipidemia, hypertension, and those with sedentary lifestyles to sign up for walks organised by various entities in collaboration with Barcelona City Council.
The six themed itineraries are between 3 and 6 km long and are designed to be done on foot. During the walks, participants get to know different spots around the city as these urban routes take in iconic city spots of cultural interest.
The initiative has also spread to the Nou Barris district. City Council and the Catalan Health and Social Care Consortium jointly organise walks at the Cotxeres health centre to prevent cardiovascular diseases from a cultural perspective. Walks are also organised by the Associació del Comerç i les Empreses de Trinitat Nova and other healthcare centres. At the same time, facilities such as the Casa de l’Aigua and the Castell de Torre Baró also offer organised walks.
Quim Llop, a cultural monitor on the ‘Fem salut i cultura’ activity, explains: “The walks last roughly an hour, are not very difficult and entail almost no ascent or descent”. The monitor knows very well that “all participants interact with people in their district and get to know new places, even in their own neighbourhood, as they’re spots which are discovered by walking, not by staying at home!”.
Although the allocation of places gives priority to patients from primary healthcare centres, the activity is open to everyone. The walks are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 5 pm to 6.30 pm, and will be taking place up until 15 December. They are guided group walks with an expert monitor, with the aim of promoting regular physical activity.