Stumped for an idea? Take a stroll. It’s not only good for your circulation but also for your brain. Whether you need a solution to a problem or you’re just looking for some inspiration, walking gets your creative juices flowing in all areas. Taking a walk can instantly lift your mood: it improves feelings of self-esteem and helps combat depression. In fact, walking is the easiest, most natural way of boosting endorphins, as well as finding that empowering a sense of achievement that comes with taking on a challenge.
Walk & Talk
The act of walking forward can be in itself a metaphor for moving ahead, symbolising change and moving forward past difficult things particularly when we feel in a state of stuckness. Not only book clubs and drama groups are re-discovering the power of “mindful” walks but also counselling while walking is becoming a very popular therapy.
A Walking Therapy is basically the latest way of taking counselling off the couch. Setting within a naturally therapeutic outdoor, it combines physical exercise with counselling, psychotherapy, mindfulness and coaching. According to the British walking therapist Jonathan Hoban, author of the book Walk with your Wolf (Hodder & Stoughton):
When we walk we find the space to process our feelings and we begin to have the courage to be vulnerable and honest with ourselves. Walking awakens the intuition that helps us face up to our difficulties and walk alongside them, enabling us to find positive solutions to our problems. Our ancestors knew all about movement – they walked across the planet, understanding nature and learning to respect and work in harmony with it.
Off the beaten track of your mind
Walking- tours are not only a great way to see the sights and keep in shape but also the pinnacle of escapism. Walking provides free-thinking time for travellers to ponder the meaning and beauty of life and solve problems. While walking, travellers can notice the fine details of trees, towns or castles, instead of just glancing at sweeping scenery out of a coach window. As you journey through the countryside, you meet locals, farmers, fellow travellers and hospitable guest house owners. Each step you take, you play an active part in moving yourself that little bit further into the peaceful unknown and away from the rush of daily life. With nothing but nature for a company, it is the perfect environment to relax and reflect, or for those practising mindfulness, to simply get lost in the act of putting one foot in front of the other.
The most beautiful walks in the UK
Do you want to challenge yourself a bit more? All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes to walk in, a backpack and a good book/map. National Trails are long distance walks through some of the very best landscapes the UK has to offer. They are special: they have been designated by the Government and are managed to a set of Quality Standards that set them above other routes. You will find the trails well waymarked with the distinctive acorn symbol. Each trail is looked after by a dedicated officer often with teams of volunteers.
The seven trails included in the England’s Great Walking Trails Project offer a wide range of experiences from the dramatic and beautiful South West Coast Path to the stunning Norfolk Coast Path with its big skies and amazing wildlife. You can walk in the footsteps of Romans on Hadrian’s Wall Path, or in the footsteps of pilgrims on the North Downs Way. If you fancy a more serious challenge the Pennine Way might be for you with its ever-changing scenery, or maybe the Cleveland Way which offers the very best of heather moorland and craggy coastal walking.