Walking along a thinking path
Posted Thursday 27 October 2011
This is a guest post from Walk4Life, as part of our autumn Ecominds campaign to improve our mental health by getting outside into nature.
There is something about the rhythm of walking that helps people feel good. Our bodies love rhythms – breathing, heart beating – and steady walking helps them become coordinated. The blood flows into all the nooks and crannies as you stroll along, the arms swing and the feet follow.
Recently, I was walking along the beach at low tide, where all the patterns from the waves are left on the hard sand. Transfixed by the rhythm of my legs, I decided to take a video of my legs and feet moving with the texture of the sand underneath.
People often tell me how feeling closer to nature and places helps their mental health. If it is a regular route, you can see the seasons changing; fill your senses with autumn colours, smells and feelings. Why not take a photo along the way of your favourite moments (and enter the Ecominds autumn nature photo completion?). I love seeing dogs’ happy faces when I am out and the sense of peace and freedom that a walk brings.
Walking helps thoughts to be freer too, almost as if thoughts are released by the rhythmic paces and are able to breathe. Wordsworth was inspired by nature when he wandered like a cloud, but did you also know that Darwin did his best thinking on a daily stroll? He had a “thinking path” through woods near his house. When he had a lot on his mind, he did more circuits.
Do you have a “thinking path” of your own? The Walk4Life website is a great place to look for walks near you, or to be able to map your favourite routes and recommend them to others. Don’t like walking on your own? You can look for a walking event or a walking group near you. Also, the site helps you keep a track on all the walks you complete, so you can set yourself a target if you like. There are plenty of ideas for a target to get started, or you can add a new one of your own.
Next time you are out walking, see if the rhythm helps you. Like the beat of music, after a while it is irresistible!
Abi Mansley, Walk4Life
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