Walking has not been part of my regular routine in the past. I took the occasional walks when I had the time. But given what seems like an always busy schedule, I had little time to go for a walk as much as I wanted to. Over the past months though, I have started to make slight changes in my routines to make room for this activity. The constant stress that dogged me prompted me to take stock of my daily activities and realized that my lifestyle need a little bit of improvement – especially on the health and wellness side. Taking a walk every day has since brought positive changes in my daily life.
Studies have been made about the benefits of walking abound. I have been reading a lot of articles on that subject lately. If I had any doubts about what science has proven to be true, which I don’t, it would have already been proven wrong. My experiences in walking convinced me that there is something good about the activity. I am one of those who believe that if you want to be happy, take a walk. Here’s why:
It improves my mood – No matter how I feel before stepping out the door, I could not help but feel better as soon as I start my walk. The wind in my face, the very air itself, hits me and seems to shake me from the stupor of stress. I begin to enjoy the sights. I noticed that even the familiar sights in the routes I frequent never stay the same. There is always something new for me to see or experience. And that makes me happy.
It clears my mind – Walking helps me think more clearly. For reasons I cannot explain, I feel like my head just made room for a clean slate. Ideas that elude me while stuck on my work desk come when I least expect it. It also works the same way for me when I am dealing with problems which seem more solvable once I have set out on the road.
It gives me time for myself – Things can be overwhelming at time with so many things going on at any given day. Whether it is at home or with my work, there seems to be something urgent that requires my attention. These are on top of the things I have to juggle dealing with a lot of people on a daily basis. My solitary walks give me precious time away from it all even just for a little time. This leaves me refreshed and ready to face my usual routines again when I come back.
It helps me sleep better – My sleep routine improved since I started walking regularly. I have developed better habits that helped me overcome the insomnia I was suffering from for years. The lack of sleep has always left me tired and lethargic. I relied on energy bars and several cups of strong coffee a day to get by. Now, I still need my coffee fix but mostly for the pleasure it gives me.
I’m still a beginner at walking compared with some of the people I know who’ve been doing it for years. When I was still trying to make it a daily part of my routine, I realized that it wasn’t easy as I initially thought it would be. Finding the motivation to do it every single day, even when I’m not in a mood for it, was a constant challenge in the beginning. But as I kept at it, I learned that building my walking habit didn’t have to be a serious life-altering event. I just had to keep my daily walks as fun as it can get to make me want to do it again the next day.
My first walking adventures were fairly short and slow. I carved out 30 minutes of my time for it from my daily schedule. I had to make a small adjustment by waking up about 15 minutes than usual because I prefer to do my walks in the morning. Fifteen minutes was a reasonable chunk of time for me. Not too much to disrupt my habits in a big way, which made it easier for me to stick with. My 30-minute walk was also more of a pleasurable stroll rather than a serious activity. I set no goals other than to spend the time I allotted for the walk.
I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed my walks in the beginning if I picked difficult routes. Luckily, there were many paved footpaths near where I live. There was also a big park roughly 10 minutes away from my place. This gave me plenty of routes to choose from when I was just starting out. The well-maintained roads and tracks made for easy walking. There were a lot of trees along the way. It’s a pleasant route that I look forward to every day.
Comfortable shoes and clothes
Walking is one of the most inexpensive ways to exercise. There’s really nothing much you need to do it. There’s always a road or a path to follow, which you can do for free. A good pair of walking shoes, however, can bring you farther more comfortably. I was happy to find a nice pair that didn’t cost me much. As I went for more walks, I also realized the importance of wearing the right clothes. Too much covering on a humid morning leaves me sweaty and not so happy with my walks. A nice water-resistant windbreaker proved handy when I got caught in sudden drizzles as I take a walk.
The 150-mile path that makes up the Ouse Valley Way has long been in list of things to explore. The meandering route follows the River Great Ouse and offers scenic views. I could just imagine the scenery that awaits me.
My first visit to a section of the footpath made me want to go back again. I first explored the area near Houghton Mill, which is an 18th century building that stands in the midst of picturesque scenery. I have seen my fair share of old structures. But seeing the mill was still an awe-inspiring experience for me. There was nothing spectacular about it. It was an ordinary mill with a huge water wheel near it. But knowing that it has been there for hundreds of years made me think about how it would have played a role in people’s lives in the past.
I had a pleasant time walking along the Thicket Path. The footpath was wider and there were a lot of activity with many people out walking, some with their furry friends in tow. Taking this path in the midst of the woods was enjoyable despite the foot and bicycle traffic. I followed the route which led me to St Ives where I took a brief rest along the waterfront.
From St Ives, I set out towards Meadow Lane. Here I had to pass through some parts of the road where there were puddles of water. Certain parts were not also paved so I expect it to be a big muddy when it rains. But I was fine with it. It reminded me of why I set out for a walk in the first place. Dirt tracks and rough trails are part of the nature walks I am looking forward to.
The walk along Meadow Lane led me to the river. I followed the course for a while and headed towards Holywell Front.
My solitary walk on a Sunday morning was a pleasant discovery of sorts. I was initially worried of setting off alone in an unfamiliar area. Surprisingly, it turned out to be more fun than I expected. Certain sections of the footpath were also busy. I came across several people out for a walk as well as cyclists whizzing past me while I was traversing Thicket Path. Some parts of the walk was quieter with only a handful of strollers around.
A walk in the woods and meadows has always been a relaxing experience for me. With a footpath that stretches to 150 miles, the Ouse Valley Way beckons and waits.