What Are The Benefits of Walking For Dementia?

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A study published last year in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, showed that regular exercise can promote better brain function and thinking skills in people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In particular, the study suggested that walking a few times each week would improve blood pressure and cardiovascular health, which can lead to improved memory in those in the early stages of the disease.

Around 90,000 people in Scotland have dementia, with over 3000 of those affected living in Perth and Kinross.  Since 2016, Paths for All’s Dementia Friendly Walking project has been supported locally by Live Active Leisure’s Health Walk programme, Stride For Life.  

There are now seven weekly walks in various local communities throughout Perthshire and Kinross. At the time, this was the first project in Scotland to be awarded Dementia Friendly Walking status, and there are now seven weekly walks in various local communities throughout the area - including Kinross, Crieff, Alyth, Birnam, Bankfoot North Muirton, and Stanley which is featured in the video here. Walks vary from 30 minutes, up to one hour, and are all carried out on flat ground.

As well as slowing down the disease process and mental decline, the walks are a supportive and welcoming way for people living with the early stages of dementia to access the many benefits of being physically active.

Stronger muscles and more flexible joints, reduced risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure and heart disease, and a better quality of sleep are all additional gains.  Participants also find that building social connections and a weekly routine help with confidence and mood, and reduce the feeling of isolation.  Combined, these physical, mental and emotional gains all help people living with dementia maintain their independence for longer.

The Health Benefits of Joining a Walking Group

  • Improve physical fitness - strong muscles and flexible joints
  • Improve the health of your heart and blood
  • Reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Reduce the risk of stroke and type 2 diabetes
  • Reduce risk of osteoporosis
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve confidence and mood
  • Improve memory and slow down mental decline
  • Reduced feeling of isolation with more social opportunities
  • Increase self esteem
  • Maintain independence for longer

DEMENTIA FRIENDLY WALKING NormaThe seven Dementia Friendly routes offered via LAL are run by qualified volunteers - easily identified thanks to their bright red, branded jackets - who have been given additional, specialist training, to allow them to develop and deliver walks that are safe, accessible and, perhaps most importantly, enjoyable.

Ian Findlay, Chief Officer with Paths for All who presented the certificate jointly with Chairman, Marcus Sangster said: “I am thoroughly impressed by Stride for Life’s enthusiasm in developing their programme of Health Walks to become more accessible and inclusive for people living with dementia.

This is especially important when there are so many benefits to everyone becoming more active and spending time in nature.  I would like to congratulate Colin and his team of fantastic volunteers for leading the way with Dementia Friendly Walking in Scotland.”

People living with dementia, and their carers, are welcome to join any of the walks.  It is free to participate and each session ends with a cup of tea and a chat to extend the social aspect of the programme.  


Day & Time

Meeting Point

Walk Information



Kinross Church Day Centre, High Street

Short 45 - 60 min walk on flat ground


Tuesday* 10.30am

Meet at Strathearn Campus

1 hour max on flat ground



Meet at Airlie Street Hall, Alyth

Short 30 - 45 min walk on flat ground




Meet at Riverside Church, Bute Drive

Short 30 - 45 min walk on flat ground


Wednesday 1.30pm

Meet at Willowbank Lounge, Servite Housing

Short 30 - 45 min walk on flat ground


Thursday 10.30am

Church Centre

1 hour over mixed terrain



Old Post Office 6 Percy Street

Short 45 - 60 min walk on flat ground

*Meet every second Tuesday in the month at Macrosty Park car park.

Paths for All’s Dementia Friendly Walking project is supported with funding from The Robertson Trust and the Life Changes Trust. The Life Changes Trust is funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

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