Members of a Local Heart Charity Walk to Everest!

The British Heart Foundation tells is that In Wales today, 375,000 people live with Cardio Vascular Disease and at least 32,500 of those have heart failure. The North Gwent Cardiac Rehabilitation and Aftercare Charity are helping to buck this trend by providing long term cardiac rehabilitation in the community.

In partnership with the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s Cardiac Rehab Team the Charity has been providing exercise classes in Usk, Monmouth, Abergavenny, Ebbw Vale, Tredegar and Abertillery for the last 25 years. Unfortunately, in March due to the Covid 19 restrictions. the classes had to stop. Keeping in contact with class members, many of whom are elderly, is a priority for our Cardiac Rehabilitation Fitness Instructors. They ring members every week offering support and advice on how to keep healthy and when possible inviting them to join one of our new walking groups.

Inspired by the founder of ‘World Walking’ Duncan Galbraith, whose cardiac rehab group the Inverclyde Globetrotters walked to the moon, our walkers put their heart and legs to the test and took part in the 'Everest Cardiac Challenge'. A virtual walk of 6,879 miles across 20 countries the Everest Cardiac Challenge started on the 17th August from Nevill Hall Hospital Abergavenny and successfully reached Everest Base Camp on the 17th October. Our walkers must be congratulated for reaching the destination spot on time whilst experiencing poor weather, social distancing and wearing face masks. Along with motivating people to keep fit the Challenge also raised £4000 with all monies going to keep long-term cardiac rehabilitation in North Gwent. An amazing collective effort from all walkers and supporters.

Covid 19 has changed our lives greatly. However, with imagination, support and resilience this charity along with the Health Boards Cardiac Rehab Team has found a way to keep their members exercising, maintaining fitness and keeping in touch with friends. Never so important as now.

 ‘There are not many cardiac rehabilitation groups that will be able to say they travelled from the valley of the cardiac ward to the top of the world. What inspiration your group will give others’.  Duncan Galbraith, Founder of World Walking. 


Dr Jacqueline Miles MBE, PhD, BSc (Hons), RGN.

Founder and Trustee

North Gwent Cardiac Rehabilitation and Aftercare Charity 

The idea for Miles in Their Shoes first came about when a fundraising ambassador of ours gave me a call and explained that they were planning on virtually travelling the distance from Wakefield to Kampala with their staff team. They’d recently completed a walking challenge but wanted to create something that would help their team’s wellbeing during COVID-19. They worked at a school, and were working incredibly hard to create resources and online classes for their pupils and needed something fun to do outside of hours that kept a focus on staff’s wellbeing.

As soon as she told me, I was keen to see how we could adapt this for our charity. We had a few fundraising events that were no longer able to go ahead, and we wanted to provide something that aided loneliness, gave people an excuse to get outside and exercise, and to give our supporters an idea of what it might be like to be a child living in the slums of Uganda.

We had the skeleton of the idea planned, and we then started approaching different mile tracking apps to see if they could help. Our intern Holly did some research and found World Walking, and we really loved the functionality of the website. We saw that they were also a charity and decided to give World Walking a call. 

Once World Walking had explained the aims of the app to me, and the fact that they could use the app to build us a custom route, I started to get very excited. For the next few days we went back and forth deciding how the app could work, and World Walking was so brilliant at putting the route together for us, along with all the milestones that would inform our supporters about what it’s like for a child living in Uganda along the way.

Within two weeks, we managed to take the idea from the ideation phase into launch, thanks to the hard work of World Walking and our very small staff team at Kids Club Kampala. We were able to recruit 109 fundraisers, including the original staff team that our fundraising ambassador pulled together from her school. We made sure to welcome everyone to Kids Club Kampala through a welcome zoom call, and then they were off!

Groups used the World Walking chat function and What’s App to update their teams on their progress and send pictures of them (and usually their furry friends!) on their walks, cycles and runs. Each time a group reached a milestone they were emailed with an update on a particular project and the tangible difference their fundraising is making to vulnerable children.

The challenge lasted for ten weeks, and we managed to raise over £13,000! We have received brilliant feedback from all who were involved, and we made so many new connections with people along the way. 

A really huge thank you to World Walking for pulling this all together for us, at a time of great need when we were cancelling all our fundraising events! We are thrilled to still have the Miles in Their Shoes walking route on the World Walking website and app, and you can now donate to Kids Club Kampala through the World Walking website too!

Jo Black

Fundraising and Marketing Manager

Kids Club Kampala

12 October 2020 - That Was Quite A Day!

7.30 AM: Monday, 12 October 2020 began much like any other day. Up early, answering the handful of questions and inquiries that had arrived overnight from users around the world.

We'd been looking forward to getting cracking. We had a new walk to publicise - a 1,000 mile journey around the vast US state of Arizona - and a user to thank for suggesting this new route. We'd been working on it on and off for a few weeks; working out the milestones, choosing and buying new images, and writing the descriptions for each place along the way. At 10.00 we were ready to publish:

Job done! It was already a good day.

2.00 PM: And we had something else to look forward to. Last week, we'd received an email from Angela Griffiths, Corporate and Community Manager, at 'Once Upon A Smile', a children's bereavement charity in Manchester, inquiring if we could help them with a virtual walking challenge to raise much needed funds in the run up to Christmas and a Zoom call had been arranged for this afternoon. It was great speaking with Angela about the work of this inspiring charity and we agreed that, between us, we'd to try and create a new virtual route round Manchester for their donors and supporters to use. 


3.00 PM: During the Zoom call with Angela, an email arrived from Sylvia Howie asking for a little advice and, as it is always good to talk, a phone call ensued. It turns out that Sylvia is the Live Active Advisor for Springburn in Glasgow, a few miles away from our base in Greenock. She’s also a super-enthusiastic World Walker who has been making good use of World Walking to help the people who have been referred to her from the local health service to stay active and connected while all gyms have been closed and volunteer-led health walks stopped because of COVID-19. 

World Walking was inspired by the efforts of the Inverclyde Globetrotters, another Live Active Exercise Referral group based at Inverclyde Leisure’s Waterfront Gym, and it was brilliant to learn that similar group was following in their footsteps; quite literally, as, spookily, Sylvia’s Springburn + Maryhill Live Active Referrals Walking Team is tackling our 9,300 mile long ‘Walk the Med’ route just as the Inverclyde Globetrotters are doing at this very minute! 

6.00 PM: Just sitting down for a bite to eat when another email pops up; this time from 3,000 miles away in Maryland, USA and it’s from a very unexpected source, Tracy Cooper on behalf of the National Congress of American Indians.  The National Congress is planning a virtual health challenge to be held in conjunction with their 77th Annual Convention in November. They are interested in using World World Walking and would like to speak with someone.

So at 8.50 PM we’re happily back on Zoom meeting up with Tracy and having a great old time hatching an action plan to make this happen, hopefully, complete with a bespoke route.


Feet up, watching TV and chilling out. Thinking that the day could not have been better. - then.

10.45 PM: Another email pings in from across the Atlantic; this time from Christy Phillips, VP for Resident Engagement at Atria Senior Living.


Remaining physically active is one of the pillars of resident engagement at Atria and Christy and her team are using World Walking to support their ‘Atria Go Together! Walking Challenge’, the first step in a three-part program to promote physical activity among residents living in their communities across the USA. It’s early days, just the start of Week 2, but some of their communities are really embracing it and Christy wanted to share an inspirational video posted on one of their community’s local Facebook page. Way to go Tanglewood, Long Island, New York!


And there you have it. The end to a perfect day in the life of World Walking.  A day only made possible because a group of people living with heart health issues in Inverclyde, Scotland, decided to go for a walk way back in 2008.

Happy Walking.  Take care and stay safe.

Where has the time gone?

It seems like only yesterday that we quietly launched World Walking. 

'Simply to motivate people to walk more for health & happiness', that's why we decided to offer World Walking as a free resource, available to use by anyone, anywhere, anytime. Since we launched in October 2013 our online community has grown daily and here we are; 7 years old and still doing what we can with what we have.

We are grateful to everyone who has helped us stay the course; 

  • The organisations which have funded us to help pay our bills;
  • Our wonderful donors who give what they can;
  • The terrific and kind-hearted design and development team of Chris, David, Fergus and Michael based in Glasgow; and 
  • Everyone who has walked the world with us to keep our dream alive.

And this is the result:

Thank you all.  Keep walking with us. It's great to have your company.

Our 2020/21 Mid-Year Results

The last six months have been unprecendented as the world reels from the devastating impact of COVID-19.

As people searched for ways to safely stay active and connected and charities looked for new ways to raise funds, we've experienced the fastest period of growth in our seven-year history.  We are delighted to have been of value to so many individuals and groups but wish this increase in activity had not been driven by this terrible pandemic.

Take care and stay safe.

Hike the Highlands from Home

Highland Green Health Partnership Initiative

This project is helping to make more use of Scotland’s outdoors as Our Natural Health Service. 


The Hike the Highlands from Home initiative is open to everyone.

World Walking

For this initiative we are using World Walking which was developed by a Scottish charity and which allows you to use the distances you walk in the real world to complete imaginary (virtual) walks.  For our Hike the Highlands from Home initiative, we have created 4 virtual walks to showcase our beautiful area.

World Walking's many features include:

  • Everyone’s welcome: Go it alone or create your own group - easily!
  • Easy to use: Create your own unique login.
  • Track your progress:  Anytime you wish.  See what milestones you’ve reached, how many steps you’ve taken.  
  • Gain awards:  There are 20 Awards, a special ‘Think Nature’ award, to unlock!  The more you walk, the more you receive.

Signing up to take part

If you would like to take part in the Hike the Highlands from Home initiative, please use the special landing page which we've created to register (if you are new to World Walking) or login (if you have already created an account on World Walking). You will find the landing page at: worldwalking.org/thinknature 

Once you have registered or logged in using the landing page (use the Registration Section below the main image not the menu at the top of the page) all of the distances you subsequently add to World Walking will be included automatically to the dynamic total distance displayed on the landing page of the miles walked by all the individuals and groups taking part in our Hike the Highlands from Home initiative.

Although you do not need to do so, we recommend you use the Quick Links on the landing page to:

  • Create a group
  • Search for other groups taking part in Hike the Highlands from Home initiative
  • Start a new virtual walk
  • Add (bank) the distances which you or your group walk
  • Use (spend) the distances you have banked to help complete your virtual walk.

Apart from anything else, the landing page will let you see at a glance how many steps have been walked by everyone taking part.

Once you have registered to take part getting started is pretty straightforward. If you need help, have a look in the World Walking ‘Help’ section (there is a ‘Help’ tab at the bottom of each page on World Walking). If you don’t find what you need just click the ‘Get in touch’ button and we’ll get you sorted out.

Getting Started

Step 1: Create a group for your service/team using the Quick Link on the landing page titled - "Create a group"

You can set up your group so that anyone can join it or so that people need to be invited to join.

Step 2: Start a walk for you or your group using the Quick Link on the landing page titled - "Start a new walk"

Step 3: Ask all your friends, family and colleagues to:

  1. Register to use World Walking using the landing page to register (or login if they already have a World Walking account).
  2. Join your group
  3. Start your group's walk

Helpful tips:

  • World Walking allows users to enter an optional display name will be shown in place of their own name on the website.
  • To start your group's chosen walk just click on 'My Walks'. You will see that your group has a walk available. You just need to click it to join.

Adding the distances you walk or cycle or run

To log the distance you have walked to help complete your chosen virtual walk you need to deposit your distance in your World Walking 'bank' and then 'spend' the distance you have 'banked' on your walk.

We have included a Quick Link on the landing page for you to use to 'Add your distance (bank)'.  

You can 'spend' the distance you have 'banked' anytime. You will find another Quick Link on the landing page labelled 'Spend distance on a walk' which allows you to do that.

Editing your group details

To edit your group details e.g. to change the status of your group to 'invite only', open your 'group' page and then click on the down arrow at the right-hand side of the menu bar on your group page.

Select the 'edit group' option from the short drop-down menu that appears.

Setting your default unit of distance

With World Walking users can enter their distances in steps, kilometers or miles.

To help you enter your distance correctly you can set a default unit of distance. To do this click on 'settings' on the menu on your dashboard (your homepage) and select the value you prefer to use when entering the distance you walk.

What if you enter the wrong number of steps?

We all make mistakes - it happens to the best of us. Don’t worry. You can delete (or undo) distance from your ‘bank’ as long as:

  • You haven't spent the distance on a walk, or you have enough steps in your bank to delete the banked distance.
  • The distance was manually added and not automatically pulled in through a wearable device e.g. your Fitbit.
  • The distance was recently added (at most 1 month ago) and shows in the "Recent Activity" when you click the ‘Add Steps’ button.

Here is a link to an article in our 'Help' section which explains how to do this: https://worldwalking.org/help/article/1822/how-do-i-delete-distance-from-my-bank

If you are unsure of anything connected with using World Walking, please contact [email protected]  They will be very pleased to help.

Many feet will make light work of hiking the Highlands from home.

Thank you all for taking part.  Let’s go for it!

2020- 21 Looks like being a year like no other in the short life of World Walking so we thought we'd keep a note so we could look back on the year that was in the hope that by this time next year we are 'back to normal', whatever that is.

So here goes. 

1 April 2020:  This new financial year begins with our little charity, like the rest of the world, facing the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. 2019/20 has just ended with the following results:

1 April: Published new walk - Here for Each Other - to support the #HereForEachOther campaign organised by the East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals' Charity to support local NHS staff as they respond to the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19.

12 April: Published new walk - USA: North to South.

13 April: Published new walk - Cardiff.

19 April: Published new walk - Israel.

20 April: Published  new walk - The Eirias Rainbow Walk - to support the work of the NHS in North Wales during COVID-19.

20 April: Published new walk - Move for Meals - in support of the charity, Mary's Meals, in conjunction with the charity's office in Germany.

27 April: Published new walk - Land's End to John o'Groats.

29 April: Became the first and, so far, only walking app to achieve the ORCHA quality mark badge:

30 April: The end of a month of unprecedented activity on World walking with 6,680 new user accounts created and 1.5 billion steps/634,000 miles logged by our users; the equivalent of them having walked 25 times round the world. More 'help' inquiries from users than normal which you would expect when you have 6 months worth of new users in the space of just one month. Nothing we, and World Walking, couldn't handle. 

1 May: 19,000 walks now completed by our users; up 1,000 since 1 April 2020, the biggest monthly increase ever.

1 May: Published new walk - CHAS Walk for Wellness - for the charity Children's Hospices Across Scotland for Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May).

10 May: Published new walk - Cyprus.

11 May: 50,000 virtual walks started on World Walking since our launch in October 2013.

18 May: Published new walk - Great Wall on China (East)

19 May: Our magnificent World Walking users reach the milestone of having walked 12.5 million miles - 500 times round the world.

19 May: 1,000 virtual walks started in the last week!

22 May: 10,000 new user accounts created since 1 April 2020.

25 May:  60,000 users worldwide!

28 May:  Guest Blog from World Walking published by America Walks

28 May:  20,000 walks now completed by our users; up 1,000 since 1 May 2020.

 1 June:  30 billion steps recorded!

5 June: 12,000 new user accounts created since 1 April 2020 (just 9 weeks) - the same number as in the whole of 2019/20!

16 June: 13 million miles now clocked up by our amazing World Walkers since our launch in October 2013.

17 June: Our amazing World Walkers walk 60 times round the world in (less than) 80 days!

30 June: Today marks the end of the first quarter of 2020/21. Here are the World Walking results for the quarter:

  • Over 14,800 new user accounts created;
  • Over 4.1 billion steps recorded (1.7 million miles, equivalent to 70 times round the world);
  • Over 3,100 virtual walks completed.

1 July: Delighted to be supporting Highland Green Health Parnership's 'Think Health Think Nature' initiative with Hike the Highland's from Home.

17 July: Our new fundraising feature launched quietly today. Beta testing begins. Our 'one-stop shop', complete with public fundraising page, will allow our users to help others while staying active.  No idea if this will fly but we are so happy to be giving it a go!

7 August: 14 million miles now clocked up by our amazing World Walkers since our launch in October 2013.

8 August: Our growing community of World Walkers walked the equivalent of 100 times round the world (2.5 million miles) in just 104 days!  Awesome! 

13 August: Delighted to announce that World Walking can connect to Google Fit and bank all steps recorded on the Google Fit app.

18 August: Over 20,000 new user accounts created since 1 April 2020.

23 August: 70,000 user accounts created worldwide.

21 September: 35 billion steps now recorded on World Walking. 

27 September: Our first universary collaboration - the Keele Sustainability Challenge.

1 October: Happy Birthday!  World Walking celebrates its 7th birthday today. We wish to thank everyone who has made this possible; 

  • Chris Baldie, David Rushton, Fergus Howe and Michael Park, the digital design geniouses who created World Walking for us; 
  • All those who have supported us with encouragement and financial support; and 
  • The inspirational Inverclyde Globetrotters, without whose remarkable efforts, World Walking would not exist.

When we launched our free website/app back in October 2013 we had no idea if anyone would use it. We simply wanted to help motivate people to walk more for health and happiness.  Seven years on, here is the result:

1 October:  Our Mid-Year results for 2020-21. Happy days!:

9 October: Delighted to be supporting the Inverclyde Community Fund's virtual Inverclyde Stride 2020 

11 October:  25,000 virtual walks completed!  

17 October: The North Gwent Cardiac Rehabilitation and Aftercare Charity complete their Everest Cardiac Challenge - 16 million steps/6,879 miles from Abergavenny  to the top of the world in just 66 days. Awesome!

18 October: 4 million miles clocked up since 1 April 2020.

27 October: 10 billion steps added since 1 April 2020.

2 November: 16 million miles clocked up on World Walking since October 2013!

5 November: 26,000 walks now completed by our amazing World Walkers.

8 November: 80,000 user accounts created since October 2013; up 30,000 since 1 April 2020

22 November: Another milestone - the first £1,000 raised for charity using our new integrated fundraising feature.


2019 - 20: Another Successful Year for World Walking

Our tiny Scottish charity is delighted to have made it through another financial year.

We thought we'd share with you how 2019 -20 finished. We're well chuffed. Thanks to all our users for supporting what we're trying to do. We hope World Walking has helped motivate you to walk more than you would otherwise have done and that you've had fun exploring our amazing world; even if only virtually!.

Our financial year ended with the world struggling to contain the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and our thoughts and prayers are with all those who are suffering at the present time and for all of the frontline staff who are fighting to care for all those who need help in these worrying times.  As people abided by social distancing rules and stayed at home to prevent the spread of the disease, we saw a big increase in the number of new user accounts being created - over 2,100 in March 2020 - as they sought out other ways to help them stay active and stay safe. 

Here are our key results for the year:


We're 100% committed to keeping World Walking free for everyone to use. We can't do that on our own so we'd like to say a huge thanks to those of you who have so kindly supported us with donations during the year. We're also very grateful to Inverclyde Council for awarding us another grant to help keep World Walking going and to the Inverclyde Health & Social Care Partnership and CVS Inverclyde for their support and encouragement.

And last, but certainly not least, the brilliant - and patient - digital design and development team of Chris and David (at Papertank), Fergus (Mayday Development Ltd) and Michael (Turing Limited), without whom there would be no World Walking. Thanks guys. You're the best.

Happy Walking

Take care and stay healthy.

Kindest Regards

Duncan

Founder- World Walking

Background 

The Inverclyde Globetrotters were formed in February 2008 from a Phase IV cardiac rehabilitation class at Inverclyde Leisure’s Waterfront Gym, Greenock, when, armed with only a map and some pedometers, they set off to try to walk virtually round the world to promote the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation. 

Aim 

The aim was to encourage members to stay active between classes and accrue the health benefits that come from more walking and less sitting. 

Methods 

A simple A4 record sheet was used to record the steps walked during the past week and the distances walked, cycled and rowed during the hour-long weekly gym class. 

Results/Findings 

In May 2010, after 117 weeks ‘on the road’, the Inverclyde Globetrotters arrived back in Greenock having clocked up 30,688 miles. They kept walking. 

On 14 May 2019, the members, mostly in their 70s and 80s, ‘landed softly’ on the Moon to complete a 238,855-mile mission lasting 11 years, 3 months and 10 days. They clocked up their miles walking virtually across every continent, ‘‘visiting’ over 100 countries worldwide. 

Their efforts inspired the creation of World Walking, a free website/app developed to motivate people to walk more, whose users, from Australia to Wales, have recorded over 11 million miles (25 billion steps). 

World Walking led to the development of: 

  • The online Active Staff walking challenges of NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde; 
  • Big Team Challenge for online walking/cycling challenges; and 
  • Critter Quest, a fun interactive game for the Royal Hospital for Children at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow that rewards physical activity specific to each child. 

Along the way, the Inverclyde Globetrotters launched and successfully completed: 

Conclusion 

With a sense of fun and adventure a small group of people with long-term health conditions can help get the world walking.

Our good friends at the cardiac rehabilitation team at the University Hospital Hairmyres in Lanarkshire, Scotland, finished the last decade on a bit of a high by completing their ‘Winter Wonderland Walk’ to Lapland.

And without missing a step (or a heart beat), the patients and staff are off again on their travels. They’ve decided to celebrate this new decade by tackling their longest challenge yet - World Walking’s epic ‘United States of America walk through all 48 contiguous states from Washington State on the west coast all the way to the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington DC.

The team has set their sights on walking all 31.5 million steps in time to mark World Heart Day on 29 September 2020 and to promote the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation.

Cardiac rehabilitation nurse specialist, Faye McSpurren said:

“ Our staff and patients enjoyed and benefited so much from the previous walks that there has been no hesitation in our group ‘stepping’ up to the plate to tackle another challenge. The sense of community has been fantastic and the shared goals have helped all participants work toward achieving the next ‘step’ and improving their health and lifestyle during the process.”

World Heart Day is an annual global campaign by the World Heart Federation to encourage individuals, families, communities, and governments around the world to participate in activities to take charge of their heart health and that of others. The Hairmyres cardiac team began supporting World Heart Day back in 2017 when they took part in World Walking’s ‘Walk Europe’ initiative. They also participated in our ‘Billion Steps for Health’ campaign for World Heart Day 2018. 

And now in 2020 they’re striding out on their own to fly the flag for Scotland in this global campaign.  Why not follow their lead and use World Walking to create your own walking event for World Heart Day 2020. Nearer the day, you’ll be able to add the details of your event to the World Heart Federation’s spinning globe to let everyone know how you celebrated this day.

With a new decade fast approaching, we would to thank everyone who has supported and used World Walking in 2019. Our little volunteer-led Scottish charity has never had a plan as such, just a desire to do what we can with what we have, to help motivate people to walk more for health and happiness.

That we are now in our seventh year, amazes us and makes us very thankful and we look forward, as we always do, to the New Year and our first new decade with a continuing sense of optimism that something good lies just round the next bend in the road.

Our hopes and dreams for 2020 are that by the end of the year 50,000 people will have created user accounts and that our World Walkers will:

  • have amassed 30 billion steps; and 
  • completed 20,000 walks.
We are setting our stall out to have increased our library of ready-to-use virtual walks to 300 by this time next year and are looking forward, excitedly, to launching a couple of new initiatives in 2020:

  • a new feature which will allow users to use World Walking to raise money for charity as they walk; and 
  • enabling users to sync their Garmin devices.

With our very best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year. We hope 2020 brings you lots of joy.

Happy Walking.

From the World Walking Team.