New walking initiative is launched in Bury St Edmunds to help shoppers keep fit

Mark Cordell with Lesley Dolphin at BBC Radio Suffolk launching the Retail Therapy initiative.

Mark Cordell with Lesley Dolphin at BBC Radio Suffolk launching the Retail Therapy initiative. - Credit: Archant

A scheme to promote the health benefits of town centre shopping has been launched in Bury St Edmunds.

‘Retail Therapy’ is the brainchild of Ian Dalrymple, who runs Intersport in Whiting Street, and is backed by the Business Improvement District (BID) organisation Ourburystedmunds.

Suggested walking routes have been drawn up by Ourburystedmunds, which take in independent businesses along the way.

Mr Dalrymple said: “Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise there is and by combining it with shopping it’s a way of burning off the calories and much healthier than shopping online. It’s also an initiative that will give a boost to the high street and improve individuals’ general health and wellbeing.”

The scheme was launched on Thursday at 4pm on the Lesley Dolphin Show on BBC Radio Suffolk.

Ms Dolphin, who is patron of the Suffolk Walking Festival, said: “This is a brilliant idea and proves that walking doesn’t have to involve mud or farm tracks – and as a woman who loves shopping and walking this sounds like a match made in heaven. Bury St Edmunds is a lovely town centre to walk around, especially if you take in the Abbey Gardens at the same time.”

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Ourburystedmunds, said: “We’ve measured a route from Ram Meadow car park, through the Abbey Gardens, into the Arc and back again and it’s a mile-and-a-half – but that’s not including going in and out of shops too. Given that an average person walking reasonably briskly will burn in the region of 90 calories a mile it soon adds up, which means that those taking part in the Retail Therapy scheme can reward themselves with a cup of tea and slice of cake in one of our cafes after an afternoon’s shopping.”

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Measuring how far someone walks while doing their shopping around the town can be done using a free downloadable app such as MapMyRun, which will also show calories burned and pace.

In addition, a series of organised walks are taking place on Thursday mornings at 10am from Intersport aimed at people who want to build up their fitness levels in a relaxed and informal environment.

Mr Cordell added: “Of course the historic parts of the town contain many interesting buildings as well as so many of our wonderful independent businesses so it seemed a great idea to create a walk that combines the two and makes people aware of these jewels in the town’s crown.”

More details can be found by visiting the Ourburystedmunds and Intersport Facebook pages.