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We walk and talk

#Sportpanel staying connected through physical activity

While physical activity itself plays an important role in supporting mental wellbeing, for many people the social interaction from taking part in sport and physical activity is just as important.

As part of the sportscotland and SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) ‘We’re Here’ campaign, members of the sportscotland Young People’s Sport Panel have developed the idea of a ‘Walk and talk’ phone call, in order to combine physical activity with social connection.

The idea itself is fairly simple – organise a phone call with a friend, family member, teammate or work colleague, then both head out on a walk while you talk. The panel members also worked with SAMH to develop three questions which can be used to start the conversation.

Participants then share photos and highlights from their walk on social media to encourage others to get involved, and to highlight the importance of physical activity and social connection.

Our panel members have all been taking part in their own walk and talks and have reflected on the experience.



“The walk and talk really emphasises the connection of mental and physical health, as we are in a time where we feel like we  are alone, and things like team sports or activities are no longer taking place, it can really take a toll on our overall health.

Getting out for a walk and talk gives you a chance to really open up, or just have a laugh while being active. It can help make sure you are both physically and mentally rooted in that moment in time.” 



“During these unprecedented times there is so much uncertainty, and for most, isolation from close family and friends. Therefore, finding ways to maintain social connections helps to create a sense of togetherness despite being physically apart. Walk and Talk is a great way to stay both physically active whilst making these connections and looking out for one another. The idea promotes getting outdoors, exploring your local area and benefiting from the fresh air whilst having a phone call chat with a friend or relative.

I’ve found it very comforting to hear a familiar voice, have a catch up and share some good stories and laughs together whilst we are both walking and benefiting from physical activity.

Finding ways to incorporate physical activity into my day has been a real boost to my mental health, and being able to combine that with connecting with others has made it even better.

The concept of Walk and Talk aims to be as inclusive as possible to everyone as an opportunity to get active, stay connected and improve our mental wellbeing during these difficult times.” 



“I think that keeping active is more important than ever. We have all had our routines taken away from us and doing sport and physical activity will help structure new routines for us and maintain a sense of normality; it has huge physical, emotional, mental and social benefits.

I also think that making social connections is more important than ever. This can be such a lonely time, checking up on family and friends feels more special and, being part of a sport team, it is crucial to maintaining team dynamic and morale. This is why I think the sportscotland and SAMH #WeAreHere campaign is so poignant and I think the Walk And Talk is brilliant as it not only gets people moving but it gets them connecting.”



“Our Walk and Talk initiative is really simple yet very effective. Being active and spending time outside has always been so beneficial in supporting our physical and mental wellbeing. However, these factors now are almost more important and valuable than ever during this current crisis. These uncertain times are affecting everyone, albeit in different ways, so for that reason it is so important we remain connected with our friends and loved ones.

Therefore, our Walk and Talk initiative is set out to encourage individuals to go on daily walks outside while having a phone call with a friend or relative as a mean of remaining physically active and socially connected (albeit distantly) during this period.”


"Through the sport panel we have launched a new walk and talk initiative which has been a great way to chat with friends and family during this difficult time, I would encourage everyone to get involved because it’s a fun and easy way to create a safe place to speak.

I believe social connections and physical activity are extremely important for everyone during these tough times because by keeping our bodies healthy we are keeping our minds healthy. There are so many physical benefits of sport and physical activity I think many people forget the mental, emotional and social benefits we gain as well and this is why it’s so important to keep physically active."



"The sociability of sport and physical activity has a massive role to play in a person's wellbeing and due to difficult times this can be hugely impacted. Through the use of our Walk and Talks it has allowed me to get outside and even on a bad day it's been something to look forward to.

A simple chat with friends lifts spirits and motivates you to get active.

I know personally during this time I have had to complete exams from home which was a new challenging experience for me and my fellow students but i know having that break away from it and going a walk with while chatting to your friends or family is really refreshing and allowed better head space to get back to studying!" 



“I believe that due to this difficult situation people are aiming to take better care of their mental health and well-being by exercising and staying in contact with friends and family. This allowed us to come up with the walk and talk idea, which I find very useful to get active while catching up with friends and family. By just giving someone a call and both of you going for a walk can help prepare you for the day or relieve some stress or anxiety at anytime.”



“I’ve loved taking part in the walk and talk programme from the start where the panel and SAMH came up with the idea to it actually being aired on social media. It’s been a while since I’ve caught up with my friend and it was amazing to find out how the both of us were keeping ourselves physically and mentally fit.

I would totally recommend it to others as it was nice to get out the house and enjoy some of the sunshine we’ve been having. Especially being from the east-end of Glasgow we didn’t have massive grassy land or easy accessible parks to walk round so we just walked round our block of houses a few times and you can do it too!”



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