The power of a good walk

Published 19 March 2020

My shadow whilst walking the South Downs Way
Me and my shadow

These are strange times we’re living through.  Hopefully they are times of the like that we won’t see again.  But we’re living through them none-the-less.

Truthfully I didn’t particularly want to write about pandemic related stuff on this website.  This is a blog about walking after all.  I think we all still need a bit of escapism, and really did want to keep this website running normally.

But the situation is constantly changing. Plans are disrupted. Lives dramatically altered.

I can’t ignore these strange times. But what I can do is urge you to remember that walking is great. It is a great thing to do.

Walking has exercise and exercise has well known health benefits.  Being fit and active has well known health benefits. Exercise lowers stress.  Physical activity is good for your metabolic health.  And it can help boost your immune system.  I’m no health expert, but this seems like a perfect time to go out for a good walk if you ask me! Obviously follow all official advice, but getting out in the fresh air does wonders.  

It doesn’t need to be a big ten mile hike across the countryside. That may not be that possible for all manner of reasons. But there are plenty of options.  Even in the biggest cities there are parks, and stretches of greenery to enjoy.  Canal towpaths, country parks, rivers.  There’s lots to do.  Lots to enjoy.

Of course, always follow all official advice. And it maybe in the future our ability to get out and about becomes more constrained. But for now, if you can, go out and walk. It’ll do you the world of good.

We now return you to our scheduled programme…

Update: 23 March – it seems some people have decided to travel many miles to go for walks. Please don’t. Stay local for your walk. Enjoy what is near. Try to find hidden gems. Travelling may spread the virus faster, and put extra pressure on local NHS services.


Robin Oldfield

19 March 2020 at 10:55 am

You are so right. Walking in general is fantastic exercise. Walking in the beautiful British countryside is a great pleasure and a wonderful relief from the current stressful environment.

Remember unlike 2001 when we had the Foot and Mouth crisis, the countryside is open.

Follow government guidelines on social distancing, but do make the effort to visit the countryside.

Paul Bailey

22 March 2020 at 9:13 am

I couldn’t agree more. I am fortunate to work in a rural location, just a few miles from where I live.
Most lunchtimes I head out of the office for a short walk – roughly 2 km in length. During the summer months I can choose a cross country route, but when it’s wet underfoot, as it has been these past six months, then I stick to the roads.
I have been doing this for the past 13 years, and really appreciate being out in the open, away from work and just observing the changing seasons.
I’ve been a follower of this blog, these past six years or so. Please keep up the good work and help us all to keep our sanity, during these troubled times.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

22 March 2020 at 2:11 pm

Thanks Paul! I will keep going as long as I can keep thinking of stuff to write! And for as long as I have time. Something I didn’t consider when I wrote this piece was the impact on my time of home schooling two children!

Still I am practicing what I preach. Went out for a walk by myself on Saturday and we did a walk with the children this morning (Sunday). I will be heading out as much as I can.

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