Take a walk in the wild side

I guess it follows that as we were hunter gatherers living in forests, not open plains, that we should have an infinity with trees and woods. I hadn’t realised the extent until I read around it and discovered that walking in the woods and being in natural settings is good for our emotional wellbeing. The trees and plants are all releasing pheromones into the air that have a calming effect on our minds and bodies. That explains the air fresheners and smelly candles. We are attempting to recreate the outside inside. Probably be healthier to open the window or go for a walk.

Have you got a walking app? Current wisdom is 10,000 steps everyday though some are now saying that it needs to be even longer than that. I guess there are so many factors to health that everything will vary depending on the individual. The thing that we do know is that we all need to move more and that we are mainly too sedentary. Ed would now tell us about the virtues of only using a bike or our legs and leaving the car at home.

He also has his smart watch that keeps him on his toes, literally. Every hour if he hasn’t got up from his desk or chair, it tells him to get going. For him it started as a novelty but has fairly quickly just become a part of who he is and built into his daily version of himself. Now he is in liaison with both the police and local councils to improve the situation for bikers.

Rie is a walker and together we have built in going for walks at weekends. Rie also  does more high impact stuff and me running (until I started to damage myself, mainly through over enthusiasm). So, walking has become a serious alternative. I am looking forward to being back on the bike once the weather improves a little and I would really like to do some running again but maybe not get so addicted this time!

Mindful walking is to use the exercise to stay in the moment to be instep with yourself. This is a mindful meditation in motion. Now add in some beautiful scenery and the positive psychological effect is enhanced. If you were doing it in a wood or a country setting the pheromones would enhance your neurology.

There is so much evidence now that when we move our bodies we also feed our mind and give extra support to our brain. I always go back to the notion that  as hunter gatherers we needed a lot of eye brain coordination to cope with undulating ground, obstacles and dangers both movement and brain work together. Work one and you work the other. So, physical health is often a state of mind and mental health is often a state of body. They are inseparable.

We now also know that the depth of vision we develop as we learn about visual perspective also effects our emotional self. In the Forrest we needed good depth vision to be able to see both prey and predators. Neuropsychology explains that the centre of the brain developed for depth vision also gives us a depth of emotion that includes understanding and empathy. The assumption of researchers is that as we no longer spend time outside developing depth of vision and depth of emotion we are gradually becoming less social and more isolated, less sensitive and more selfish.

I see so many people, often quite young, who have musculoskeletal problems that have been brought about by years of inactivity. This is a life style issue. Often a work style issue. How often do you move? I can also relate to the idea that these people also have corresponding emotional issues.

Anyway I digress, we need to get moving preferably outside in the woods. We have a good opportunity now to get fit leading up to May which is national walking month. During this campaign we are all encouraged to walk for at least 20 minutes every day .    Have a look at livingstreets.co.uk and you will get a feel for Ed’s desire to get us out and moving.

The neuropsychology is that if you raise your heart rate for about twenty minutes your brain will reward you by releasing happy hormones which feed positively right down into the chemistry of your cells. This is the relationship of:

Happy mind, happy body = Happy body, happy mind

Do you need an excuse to exercise?

When you are new to exercise or you have been out of the game for while you may need an excuse to get going. That could be finding a friend who will do it with you. Maybe join a gym. Get a trainer or join a club for either rambling, walking or running. You could simply borrow a dog. Have a look at borrowmydoggy.com. 

Walking to work

Could you either walk to work or even part of the way? Perhaps parking some way away or getting off the bus or train a stop earlier and walking the rest. In London the underground have a steps map that shows how many steps there are between stations. 

The bottom line is that exercise equals happiness and exercise in the country, if you can, has huge benefits.

So, keep moving, be happy and take care

Sean x 

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