Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Bath Skyline route 'a healthy step'

The Bath Skyline walk takes in the historic sights of the World Heritage city in Somerset

Completing the National Trust's most popular walk burns as many calories as playing 90 minutes of football, according to researchers.

The six-mile Bath Skyline walk loops around the World Heritage city in Somerset and takes around two-and-a-half hours to complete.

It has been downloaded from the National Trust's website more than any other of the charity's 690 downloadable walks.

Researchers from the University of Bath generated an 'energy map' for Bath Skyline by measuring energy expenditure in people who completed the walk. The 22 men and women aged between 24 and 69 burned an average of 735 calories - equivalent to 90 minutes of football or two hours of dancing.

The study showed the physical activity was classified as being moderate intensity. This means completing the walk alone is almost sufficient to meet the minimum amount of physical activity the Government recommends for each week.

Dr Thompson, who led the team from the university's department of health, said: "These results are very interesting because they confirm that the Skyline is much more than just an enjoyable walk - it has the potential to provide enormous health benefits too.

"What we didn't know before we started is how the Skyline would compare to other typical leisure activities. Our results demonstrate that completing the Skyline walk is just as good as many other activities that people might perform for health or to burn some energy.

"The next step is to find out whether people find this information useful and whether they would like the National Trust to do more of this kind of thing for other locations."

The amount of energy expended in the walk is also equivalent to an hour of running or swimming or 40 minutes of squash. It also adds up to the amount of calories in a typical Sunday roast dinner, one-and-a-half cream teas or 10 digestive biscuits.

Wendy Stott, general manager for the National Trust Bath Skyline, said: "We already know that people love the Bath Skyline walk for its beautiful views over the Georgian city and the chance to escape into nature. But this research will hopefully give people another reason to love the special places on their doorstep."

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