Wellbeing Weekly: Reflections on Walking
10 February 2021
With our worlds becoming smaller during these strange times, walking within our local neighbourhoods, parks and open spaces has become part of our daily lives. We're appreciating nature within our neighbourhoods more than ever, observing how the seasons transform our streets, our gardens and the trees within our nearby parks.
Whether you're walking alone or with company, there are so many huge benefits to walking regularly, for both physical and mental wellbeing:
- Walking can help reduce stress. Its repetitive rhythm settles the mind, whilst noticing your surroundings encourages the mind to escape from anxious thoughts.
- Walking boosts endorphins within the body, leaving you feeling more energised and happier.
- Regular walking and exercise have been shown to stimulate our cognitive functions, supporting our memories and helping us think with more clarity.
- Walking can release excess energy, rebalance our moods and release melatonin, which is our natural sleep hormone, all of which can help with improving sleep.
- Regular walking can begin to tone up your muscles, especially if you include uphill walking, brisk walking and walking for longer periods of time.
- Walking boosts Vitamin D within our body, which is vital for our immune system, general health and happiness. Taking frequent walks outside, especially during daylight hours, is highly recommended for maintaining healthy Vitamin D levels.
At New Art Exchange, the team have been walking in their own local spaces, but we've also been organising regular walking meetings at Forest Recreation Ground (when restrictions allow). We've found walking and talking a really useful way to plan and discuss our work, and ensuring we stay connected during this challenging time.
We asked members of the team about their daily walks, here are some of their reflections on walking:
'One of my recurring favourite places to walk is Woodthorpe Park. It's been a place of respite away from the various screens we're so reliant on at the moment, and somewhere I can take a moment to breathe either with my partner, with a friend, or on my own. For me, walking is a means of re-energising, re-connecting and a form of escapism.'
(Emma, Executive Support Manager)
'I like to walk in the Forest Rec, along the wide path by the Pavilion watching all the people out to exercise, laughing, dancing, beat-boxing, bike-riding and scootering. I like the steep path through the trees to the top of the hill. It makes me pant and then I catch my breath looking down at the Amber Mill buildings and terraces of Forest Fields. I like to walk along the top path that runs along the cemetery. Recently, I saw people climbing the sandstone walls, there's always something new to see! I finish at the Community Gardens by the Lodge, my favourite place in the forest, a hidden space for growing and reflecting.'
(Manya, Talent Development Producer)