The news is grim when it comes to the health of Scots. But instead of sitting down for a cup of tea and a choccie biscuit the Scottish Government has decided to do something active.

The new National Walking Strategy is aimed at encouraging more people to use walking as a mode of transport, to get active and to stay active.

The stats reveal that physical inactivity contributes to nearly 2,500 deaths, costs the Scottish NHS £91 million each year and is the fourth leading health risk factor behind hypertension (high blood pressure), tobacco and high blood sugar (diabetes).

Now a new, integrated programme that supports patients into a more active lifestyle is being rolled out.

The programmes, to be delivered in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and NHS Health Scotland, will also benefit from £100,000 from the Government.

Sport Minister Shona Robison said: “Obesity levels in Scotland are the third worst amongst OECD countries behind the USA and Mexico, so we need a transformation to shift our culture to make physical activity a routine, normal part of everyday lives.

“We know that 30 minutes of walking each day provides more protection against death than any medication.

“While there are small increases in the number of adults and children being active, we want the majority of Scots to be in a normal weight range by 2030. This will clearly not be achieved overnight.

“There is overwhelming evidence in relation to the health benefits that come from walking so that is why the Scottish Government will develop a National Walking Strategy.”

Dr Andrew Murray, a GP and the Scottish Government’s physical activity champion said: “Regular activity is man’s best medicine. Walking is a great treatment for diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, osteoporosis and many other conditions.

“Physical activity can also help fight obesity, the onset of obesity, and the myriad complications of obesity. People underestimate the good they can do themselves with even low levels of physical activity - walking to local shops or taking the stairs. These simple activities not only make people feel better quickly, they also add years of quality life.”

Have you taken up walking recently? Have you seen any benefits to your health? Tell us about your new, improved walking routine.