10 The simple and natural act of walking has now established itself as the most popular sport in Ireland, with as many as 30% of the Irish adult population now taking a purposeful walk on a fairly regular basis. While most people still prefer to take a short stroll, more adventurous brands of walking such as body walking, hill walking, way marked walking and race walking are becoming increasingly popular. In addition, there has been a tremendous growth in the number of walking festivals. This is not surprising as the bulk of recent research suggests that the physical, mental, and social health benefits which are associated with other forms of aerobic exercise can also be derived from regular, brisk walking. The most popular sports will always be those that can provide the participant with opportunities for fun and friendship, and for recreation and relaxation. It’s little wonder that walking is often referred to as the ideal sport. Try it-it will grow on you!