Research reveals UK’s love of walking

For over 52% of Brits, walking is the favourite form of exercise, a study has revealed.

Researchers polled 1,000 people and found that walking tops the list of the nation’s preferred form of exercise, with cycling next in line at 8%, followed by hitting the gym and running. 10% of respondents said they don’t exercise at all.

The UK is clearly a nation of walking lovers too, with over three quarters of people saying they had walked simply for pleasure within the last month and over 60% of respondents having walked in just the last week.

Three quarters of people walk for up to an hour every day too.

Matthew Humphreys, Head of Operations at HF Holidays who commissioned the research comments: “May is National Walking Month and the people of Britain are encouraged to get out and get walking. But more than that, we want people to walk for pleasure and not just as a means of getting from A to B.”

When asked what was most enjoyable about walking, two in five said they enjoyed the health benefits while three in five just enjoy being outdoors and a further one in five enjoy the freedom walking gives.

Matthew continues: “In today’s busy world, we believe that among the things that matter is an appreciation of natural beauty and a love of the open air. Walking doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be a means to an end, it has a huge array of social, physical and mental benefits and we want to share that with the people of Britain.”

Nearly two thirds of people prefer to walk with their partner or a family or friendship group, further highlighting the social benefits that result from getting out and about in the fresh air.

When asked to describe how they felt after a walk, over 94% of respondents used words such as happy, healthy, calm, revitalised, and said they felt a sense of achievement. One in four said they feel happier after a walk.

Poor weather, health and time were cited as the most common factors that prevented people from walking.  

HF Holidays is the UK’s leading provider of walking and leisure activity holidays. These are shared experiences that inspire friendship, fun, and an active enjoyment of the great outdoors. For more information on HF Holidays, please visit or call 020 3424 6162.