Thrive Episode 2 – Solvitur Ambulando (It is solved by walking)

Walking

Thrive Episode 2 – Solvitur Ambulando (It is solved by walking)

I’d never really done lots of walking until about three years ago. I had recently extricated myself from a long and rather unhappy relationship and suddenly found myself suffering with anxiety at being in the house on my own. By the middle of each week I would find the anxiety sneaking up on me as I contemplated an upcoming weekend with ‘nothing to do’. I could have filled my weekends with people and plans but that seemed like distraction rather than development and I wanted to learn to love my time on my own.

So I bought a book of local walks and I planned a ‘long’ one. That first one was 5 miles. And as the year developed I walked and walked. 5 miles became a ‘short one’, the long ones became 15. That year I walked the South Downs Way (100 miles) and then last year the Thames Path to Windsor (130 miles). I carried a heavy pack, got lost, got blisters, walked in a thunderstorm and had moments when I thought I couldn’t go on…but I always did. I discovered that not only was I getting physically fitter I was also feeling mentally fitter – the anxiety subsided, I felt strong, healthy and confident again and I loved the sense of achievement I got from finding my way and covering mile after mile under my own steam. I discovered that walking is meditative and restorative.

“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.” Henry David Thoreau.

Four hours??? Panic not, in fact enormous benefits can be gained just from 20 minutes of walking:

  • Brain scans show that your brain is more active after 20 minutes walking than after 20 minutes sitting
  • Like any exercise walking releases endorphins into your system which helps you feel happier
  • Walking increases the blood flow in your body and boosts your energy levels
  • Studies show that walking every day can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke

Need some ideas for fitting a walk into your day?

  • Park further from the door of your building or at the far end of the supermarket car park
  • Go out of your office at lunch time and walk briskly – even just a few minutes will make a difference
  • Hold a walking meeting – it’s a great way of developing your listening skills as well as getting a bit of walking in (we recently held our team meeting on the South Downs and walked while we talked before coming back together as a larger group to share the salient points from our discussion)
  • Set up a distance challenge – get pedometers and see which team can cover the most distance in a week
  • Sign up for a charity challenge that requires you to train and walk a distance you’ve never done before. Look out for Moonwalk, 3 Peaks or the Thames Path Challenge as an example
  • Just do it. If you want to have more mental balance in your life, get out there and have a walk.

Need a bit more inspiration? Why not read:

Wild – Cheryl Strayed

A Philosophy of Walking – Frederic Gros

A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson

Travels with Boogie – Mark Wallington

walk in woods