I love walking. It brings me a sense of peace like nothing else. If we let it, being outside and close to nature can have a profound effect on our senses. The problem is that we get so caught up in the minutiae of life we forget to ‘live’. We get bogged down in our jobs and all the stuff that needs to be completed, (myself included!) that we lose the ability to see the beauty of nature that is all around us.
I walk regularly at lunchtimes just to get away from the frenetic activity of the office and I am very fortunate to work near the beautiful Ouse Valley Park in Buckinghamshire.
Walking 10,000 steps a day is roughly five miles. It’s a superb exercise that can be enjoyed by all ages and does not require special equipment other than comfortable supportive footwear. I like to wear a Fitbit when walking, as I find it motivational to track my steps and reach my daily target.
Regular walking increases cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness. It can help manage high blood pressure, joint and muscular pain. Walking at a brisk pace that elevates your heart rate leads to the release of the body’s natural happy drug, endorphins, which can help with low mood and depression.
Vitamin D is important to maintain our health and immune system. The main source of this vitamin comes from the sun. It can be tricky in the northern hemisphere, but exposing your head to what sunshine is available, preferably at midday when the sun is at its highest point is beneficial. We all need vitamin D to be able to absorb calcium, which helps prevent brittle bones. I take a vitamin D supplement as I don’t absorb Vitamin D efficiently but getting a natural top up is even better.
The beauty of walking regularly is watching the changes of the seasons. From the bleakness of winter through to the promise of spring, through summers haze and best of all to autumn. The burst of all the copper colours, that last kaleidoscope of colour before the contemplative quietness of winters low light.
Best of all, it’s free and if you want to do your bit for the environment, you can pick up litter as you go. Known as Plogging, it ’s a mix of jogging and ‘Plocka upp’ which is Swedish for pick up.
So take a break from the mental chaos of day to day life and take yourself outside and connect with the world around you.