“Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier” This is advice from the National Health Service.
The Outdoor Guide strongly believes in this too. In fact, at TOG we believe in ‘Walks for Life’
GPs can now prescribe Green Gym sessions to patients to encourage them to improve their health and wellbeing. Green Gym groups often attract individuals experiencing mental illness and early evaluations of the scheme have reported significant increases in positive changes inmental health, a reduction in depression and a trend towards weight loss.
The Ramblers Association found physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed. Being physically active significantly reduces the risk of several major health conditions by between 20% – 60%, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer.
Have you heard of the ‘blue mind ” effect and the calming power of water? Science has shown how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected and better at what you do.
The term “blue mind” describes the mildly meditative state we fall into when near, in, on or under water. It’s the antidote to what we refer to as “red mind,” which is the anxious, over-connected and over-stimulated state that defines the new normal of modern life. Research has proven that spending time near the water is essential to achieving an elevated and sustained happiness.
Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.
Put very simply… walking in nature has a calming effect on the body and helps promote positive mental health and happiness. It is believed to lower blood pressure and anxiety. That’s why we ‘Walk for Life’.
We know that a lack of physical activity has led to serious health problems for too many of our children and put them on a fast track for chronic disease as youth and adults. Higher rates of obesity are the cause of many major health issues, There are studies that show that children who spend quality time outdoors enjoying nature enjoyed significant reduction in the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
It is for this reason, we are also keen to get our younger generation interested in walking and we are pleased to be involved in the Eco School Project. The Eco-Schools Programme is pupil-led, involving hands-on learning that gets the whole school and the wider community involved in exciting environmental projects. The programme has been running globally for the past 25 years engaging many thousands of school children in outdoor learning for life.
On the website site we have a section all about Eco Life which has ideas for engaging children in outdoor play and encouraging families to go out for a walk.
The good news is that you don’t have to walk for hours. A brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.
But of course, there are people who are unable to walk and it is for that reason that TOG are dedicated to creating beautiful accessible walks for all. We have a continually expanding section of wheelchair friendly walks on the website.
Recently we have been developing multi -sensory walks and we are working closely with the charity SENSE to put together a collection of walks that as interesting for people with visual and hearing impairment.
So why are we passionate about making the inaccessible accessible?
And why are we actively promoting “Walks for Life”?
It’s summed up beautifully by Julia Bradbury, who wrote in the foreword of our book, ‘In The Spirit Of Wainwright’:
“The evidence is out there now which supports the claim that time spent outdoors is good for the mind, body and… spirit.
Recent revelations include ‘walking three times a week can lower your cancer risk’, ‘coastal walks help you sleep better,’ ‘walking improves your overall well-being, and helps fight depression.’
But of course it’s not only about walking is it?
Just being in the outdoors in green natural spaces is beneficial.”
Please enjoy browsing through the many, many walks we have on TOG and soon you could be on a ‘Walk for Life’