Mountrath took a big healthy step recently with the opening of a new Irish Heart Foundation Slí na Sláinte walking route in the town.
The Irish Heart Foundation initiative was developed in association with Laois County Council and launched on July 12.
The council says Slí na Sláinte, the Irish for Path to Health, is a unique health promotion concept developed by the foundation to encourage people to walk for their physical well being.
It works by mapping measured walking routes in workplaces, communities and schools.
The Mountrath Slí is made up of signposted walks around the main urban walking routes.
The council says that when planning the routes every effort was made to ensure they passed by Mountrath's schools and workplaces to encourage people to take part.
The 3.2km route starts at the Mountrath Amenity area. The route is outlined on a map board at the start.
Laois County Council's leas Cathaoirleach Cllr John Joe Fennelly welcomed the new route which he said he walks regularly.
Laois TD Sean Fleming unveiled the map board. He congratulated Mountrath Development Association on the continued commitment to delivering community and recreational facilities locally.
To date, more than 400 routes have been developed around Ireland.
Laois County Council's Sport and Leisure Officer, Ann Marie Maher said there are six other routes in Laois apart from Mountrath with another on the way for Stradbally next year.
Tina Curran, Irish Heart Foundation Slí na Sláinte Co-ordinator, looked forward to people making use of the route.
“We hope that the school pupils, workers and local community in Mountrath will get great enjoyment and benefit from the Slí na Sláinte route,” she said.
Ms Curran explained the benefits.
“Getting active makes such a big difference to your heart and overall health, helping reduce stress, ease back pain and reduce the risk of heart disease. By having a clearly marked and safe walking route we aim to make it easier for people to include physical activity as part of their day,” she said.
Adults should get 30 minutes of activity five days a week while young people need 60 minutes of activity every day.