Has walking become cool in 2018? According to a new survey, young people are not only talking the talk but walking the walk.
A YouGov poll of over 2,000 British adults, commissioned by Merrell, who were keen to investigate a spike in hiking popularity across the UK, found that 49% of 18-to-24-year-olds are walking for leisure more frequently in 2018 than in previous years.
The survey showed that 54% of young adults lace up their walking boots for leisure at least once a week to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.
Almost half of 18-to-24-year-old respondents (46%) cited they walked to help improve their mental health, whilst 47% said they took a hike to improve their fitness.
Enjoying new experiences (15%) and socialising (27%) are also included in their rationale for rambling.
Results showed a similar theme for the millennial demographic (22 to 36 years old), as 39% said they walked for leisure more in 2018 than in previous years.
“Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health. It adds years to life, improves physical and mental health, and even increases productivity”
Walking groups are on the rise and attracting younger members as an escape from the daily grind. Rebecca Chambers, 27, a member of Metropolitan Walkers, a London-based walking group for young adults commented, “It is a great way to take a break from the busy city and switch off from work.
“Instead of going out drinking on a Friday night, I’m much more likely to see friends mid-week, leaving more time for walking on the weekend.”
Merrell hypothesise that the growing trend could be inspired by celebrities such as Gigi Hadid, Kendal Jenner and Taylor Swift snapping their walks in Instagram in the past 12 months.
The researchers said the drop in numbers of young adults drinking suggested a shift in attitudes towards alcohol. They say this could be due to increased awareness of the health risks of alcohol, as well as changes in the way young people spend their leisure time.
Dr Andrew Murray, an ambassador with Merrell, NHS Inform, and researcher with the University of Edinburgh commented: “Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health. It adds years to life, improves physical and mental health, and even increases productivity.
“Walking regularly may be the best present you can give your body and brain. People are turning to walking because it makes them feel good and now science is proving that getting some exercise and fresh air is good for body and mind.”