AYRSHIRE residents are being challenged to kick start the New Year by taking steps to support Cancer Research UK.

The charity is encouraging everybody who feels they’ve had too many mince pies or helpings of Christmas pudding to sign up now to Walk All Over Cancer and get sponsored to walk 10,000 steps every day for a month.

In Scotland, a fifth (20 per cent) of people are getting less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week.

Laura Rooney, Cancer Research UK research nurse in Scotland, said: “For many of us, the start of a new year is a great time to commit to be a bit more active.

“If you are thinking about a New Year’s resolution for 2020, why not visit our website and sign up now to Walk All Over Cancer.

“We are asking people to get sponsored to walk 10,000 steps a day in March. So there’s plenty of time to start building up to the challenge and planning new, fun ways to fit in some extra steps – from getting off the bus one stop early to organising walks with family and friends.

“Sticking to a New Year’s resolution can be hard, especially through the cold, dark months of January. Registering now and making a public pledge to take part in the Spring, could help people steel their resolve.”

Not only will taking on the challenge help raise money, it has health benefits as well.

Moderate exercise can help build stamina, burn calories and keep a healthy body weight, which reduces the risk of 13 different types of cancer.

Walking has many positive effects on both the body and mind. It can help generate a sense of well-being and help people think more creatively.

Laura added: “Everyone knows nurses can walk miles and miles every day, going up and down the wards or from one clinic to another. When you sign up to Walk All Over Cancer you can decide how to tackle the challenge in your own way. You can take part on your own or ask family, friends and colleagues to join you.”