I am passionate about women’s health. Through wellness walks I offer individual female clients or small groups a tailor-made coaching programme designed to increase mental and physical health. The benefits of walking outdoors in nature are many and are well proven.
Potential obstacles for women to walking outside include: chronic conditions, injury, the menopause, nervousness about walking alone, not knowing where to go, not prioritising their own wellbeing (‘putting themselves last’), or simply a lack of opportunities to exercise. Sometimes it takes a GP to recommend exercise. Sometimes a change in circumstances, for example children leaving home, will allow women to begin to look after themselves more. With gentle encouragement and a structured programme, this can change.
Walking is good for you! It's that simple. Regular walking can be as good as a workout, with the extra benefits of being outdoors. It improves fitness and cardiac health and helps with weight loss. It lowers the risk of a range of chronic diseases such as strokes and diabetes. Because it is low impact, unlike running, it is unlikely to lead to injury. Instead, it increases strength and resilience. This is particularly the case when it’s part of a structured programme which incorporates different routines and challenges– built up to suit your particular fitness journey.
The psychological benefits of walking are huge. Just being in the open air is enough to raise your mood and stave off anxiety and depression. Walking can improve memory and cognitive function in general and help to slow down the ageing process.
Walking in nature is particularly beneficial. It lowers blood pressure, increases your vitamin D, reduces stress hormones and aids concentration.
Mindful walking is a deliberate practice which also has mental health benefits. It means simply focusing on the present moment and being aware of your body within nature. It can slow and deepen your breathing. It helps you to re-centre on your body and your immediate surroundings by opening up all your senses. It has a very calming effect and can lead to a stillness of the mind.
Walking also increases creative thinking. Often a problem that has been bothering you will suddenly appear in a different light when you are walking because of the free flow of ideas which occurs.