It’s so good for you – really it is and no special equipment needed other than a pair of shoes that are walking comfy and clobber suitable for the time of the year and climate.
But, you’ve heard it any number of times and quite frankly are sick of the mantras like “10,000 steps a day”.
How can I persuade you that walking is really fabulous for your mental and physical wellbeing , I guess with just my own thoughts and experiences I’ll keep it short and sweet…
1. A good time for a cry. Walking with a fairly determined purpose, making no eye contact seems to make you invisible to others, so you can let your emotions surface and empty out of you. Now you may prefer to share these emotions with others, but for me I like to release some of this stuff when I am on my own. A good walk, a good cry and I can honestly say, I feel calmer and freer at the end of the walk.
2. Strutting your stuff. Equally on a day that is all yours and life feels pretty dam good, a purposeful walk with your head held high, radiating smiles to anyone you pass is fairly dam therapeutic. You will arrive at your journeys end feeling like you can take on the world – I have!
3. Between time. This is a fabulous benefit of walking. You start somewhere and finish somewhere, the rest is in between time. Switch your phone to silent or better still off, and just be “between”. Between time can help you transition from one environment to the another – work to home or vv, from a low mood to a better mood, from one social gathering event to another. It’s your time to be with your self and your own thoughts and moods and get into the right frame of mind for where ever you are arriving next.
4. Tricky conversations. Walking along side someone, or even a small group of people that you want to thrash some stuff out with or even just broach a tricky subject is somehow easier outdoors, when you are on the move and walking side by side – rather that sitting or standing in from of them. Less confrontational and somehow the words come easier and even ways forward can be sorted out.
5. Notice stuff. As you walk and look around you, you will notice far more stuff then when you drive, or travel by other means. Now that is a good way to switch your brain off from a long old day at work, or distractions on the home front. Call it a brain refresh and wash out or what ever you like, but somehow it works and when you come back to said problem, or challenge – you may just have come up with the answer from refreshing the grey matter.
6. Get orientated. Arrived somewhere you don’t know – get out and walk, you will be amazed at how quickly you get orientated and learn a new area. Top tip – this may be tricky if like my good friend Marion you have no sense of direction, maybe this won’t be the best walking benefit for you, though if you have a great sense of direction (like me – she says smugly) this really is a fantastic benefit.
7. Yes it does make you healthier and fitter. Not going to labour this massive benefit, there is a ton of evidence out there, if you need reminding – then go here. The NHS summarise the benefits so well, note they also talk about joining a walking group, moving onto couch to 5k when you are ready, being motivated to walk by walking with others. If you need help with any of this, guess what? I can help – find out more.
So there we go, my thoughts on why we should all walk more. However, don’t just take my word for it, bizarrely as I was writing this article my brother Bob (an even greater walking advocate than me) sent me a Whats App saying “read this book”. And I will, and you can if you want even more science behind the benefits of walking from someone far more qualified than me. Shane O’ Mara, In Praise of Walking.