The charity making life better by water

Walking with doctors by water

As you know, our charity is passionate about walking by water.

With over 2,000 miles of easy-access towpath to stroll along, it’s a simple, effective way to get active and improve your physical and mental wellbeing. That’s why doctors in Ladywood, Birmingham are now taking their patients to our towpaths and showing them how easy it is to walk to better health.

Dubbed ‘Walk with a Doctor', this pilot scheme gives residents the chance to share their medical concerns with local GPs as they stroll along the Birmingham New Main Line Canal. At a time when NHS resources are stretched wafer-thin, the initiative brings doctors and patients together on the towpath to promote healthy living, exercise, and community.

Video production by Slinky Productions

Many serious health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes are often preventable, triggered by factors such as poor diet, obesity and inactivity. With initiatives like ‘Walk with a Doctor', we hope to encourage people to make positive lifestyle choices and help them live longer, healthier lives.

Each week, local residents are free to engage with their GPs in a friendly, relaxed environment. They can seek medical advice and air any health or social concerns they might have, all while enjoying the perks of a waterside stroll.

GP and best-selling author, Dr Amir Khan, has long been an advocate for the health benefits to be found by water, and he sees initiatives like this one in Birmingham as vital to our mental and physical wellbeing. He explains: “Canals offer us respite from our busy lives and the chance to spend time in nature, helping to reduce stress, anxiety and blood pressure. It would be fantastic if, in the future, canals are seen as our 'natural health service' and we have more doctors and health practitioners prescribing time by water to their patients.”

‘Walking with Doctors' is certainly a big step in the right direction, and we hope it's an idea that will be taken up nationwide. It's just one of many health and wellbeing initiatives we're currently championing up and down the country. Our aim is to inspire people from all walks of life to make the most of the fresh air, fun and friendship to be found by their local canal.

So why not follow our lead and discover the virtues of exercising by water. Over eight million of us live within one kilometre of a canal or river, so your own ticket to a healthier life could be right on your doorstep.

Last Edited: 06 December 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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