While National Walking Month might be a little different this year (with the whole lockdown situation) there really is no excuse for not getting out there and exploring on foot. Whether around your garden, in your street or to the areas nearby. You can do it!
Walking is important
In fact. It is more important than ever! The current restrictions on going outside and doing the usual commute and things, might feel like National Walking Month will be wasted right now, but you’d be wrong. So many of us are now working or schooling from home, which means we miss out on our daily steps while out of the house. Many of us have started heading out to our local parks, canals and streets to get some movement and fresh air. Which is where walking takes pride of place. Walking is free. It is easy. And you can do it whenever and wherever (so long as you abide by the current rules) which means we can all do it. I also include wheeling in this, as I know it’s not just about getting out there on two feet!
While we could spend out time focusing on the restrictions of our movement. Bemoaning that we can’t go on that planned bank holiday hike or jaunt along the beach, we will just make ourselves feel like rubbish. We know that these things are off the table for a while, so keeping our minds on the “can’t” instead of the “can” will only work to make the situation worse. And squash any inclination you might have to get out for a walk. So. My tip for you this National Walking Month is to focus on the things you can do. Finding ways to keep you looking at the light rather than talking yourself into the dark. Mini local adventures, garden exploring, park hunting. The local walking world is your oyster!
Stepping out and stepping up
When we find ourselves doing similar things day in day out, we can start to focus on the problems rather than the solutions. This, by no means, is good for either your mental or physical health. Thinking your way into a bad place causes your heart rate to rise, and your blood pressure too. You will find it is hard to sleep and you will slip into a grumpy mood (which then adds to the ongoing cycle of ‘meh-ness’) And this is there you can help yourself. That simple thing I mentioned about walking? You can do it.
Getting up and going outside gives you the chance to not only get your body moving, but to fill your mind with new things. At first it can act as a distraction from the thoughts going round and round and round in your mind. The ones which make you think of the “can’ts”. Not long after that, you will find that you are enjoying the smell of the freshly cut grass, the sounds of the birds and the cool breeze on your face. You know they say that a change is as good as a break? It is true. And you can get that benefit from your daily walk when you step up and step out.
A bit of encouragement
If you’re still in a bit of a slump and need a bit more encouragement to put on your shoes and head out of your front door, first let me congratulate you for reading on. That is the first step! Now we can help you with a little nudge of encouragement to get you going. Sometimes we all need that little spark of inspiration. A prod to get curious. Or simply that ‘meaning’ to get you going.
Before I go into some of my ideas, my friends over at Living Streets have come up with a fab idea called #Try20. They have 20 things you can do while out for a walk, which you can tick off as you go through the month. See how many you can do? And use them as the starting point for your own ideas to come flooding out (maybe think about them while you’re out on a walk – I always find that inspiration hits when I’m wandering)
I like that they are quite loose suggestions so you can interpret they the way that you want to. Not all of us can have a walking phone meeting, so change it. Perhaps do a video call with family and take them virtually on the walk with you. For more ideas, do check out my Outdoor Nature Activities for Adults where you can grab some nature bingo and other fun things.
Get active for National Walking Month
So with all that being said, walking is basically good for you. It is good for the mind and good for the body. Whether you have been getting out or you’ve been meaning to, May is the month for you to grow some new good habits and routines. (yeah, OK, so it’s already a few days in, but hey!) The best time to start anything is right now!
Plan your time to get out today and do it. Pick an activity to try, choose a street or path to wander and head out. The only thing stopping you is you!