To reap the stress-busting benefits of walking, you don’t need to pound the pavement or push yourself really hard. In fact, a comfortable stroll can be just as effective as a brisk walk. We asked Margaret Peggie our Vice President to share her views on walking.
Thoughts on Walking
It’s as easy as one foot in front of the other and while I’m still able to do that I shall! May 2020 has been designated ‘National Walking Month’ but for me every month is walking month and always has been.
Walking is a very unencumbered form of physical activity. Once I’m in my stride, I find my mind opens up to a myriad of thoughts, trivial, philosophical or somewhere in between. They provide an entertaining accompaniment to walking alone, which I often do as chief dog walker in the family.
With a dog, though, it’s so easy to fall into socially distanced conversations with other dog walkers. Discussing the dogs leads to more chat and often to making friends, so it’s often far from a lonely activity. Living in the middle of the Chiltern Hills, I have miles of countryside just outside my garden gate and now in the month of May it is absolutely glorious. The leaves on the trees are still fresh and green. Bluebells, buttercups, campion to cowslips are in their prime and walking in it is especially wonderful. It feels like a privilege, which of course it is in the days of lockdown.
Make it pleasurable
Sometimes I find myself walking in all sorts of different places, not just the countryside. From my families’ houses in suburban London, I have pounded the streets, parks and commons and still found plenty to think about and people to chat with. I love looking at the rows of houses to see what their owners have done to put their own individual stamp on the same walls, windows, doors and front gardens.
When I’m strolling I speculate idly about who might live in each one. Constructing lives for them which are probably way off the mark. I also like to explore the streets of the City. I can’t wait to start my exploration again. It’s great to see how they join up from the familiar to the unfamiliar, becoming familiar again. I think about the thousands of people who have walked there before me and those will do so when I am long gone.
No doubt it is because the very act of walking is a simple, repetitive physical activity, demanding little conscious thought, that it allows the mind to open up. ‘Mens sana in corpore sano’ which means a healthy mind and body working together in harmony.
It is important to follow the Government guidelines on exercising outdoors.