|Walking in the Chess Valley|
Today I want to talk a little bit about something I do A LOT!
I've always been a runner (and I hope to be running in to my old age)... but running is NOT what I want to share with you right now. As much as I love running, In recent years I've cut right down on the amount that I do in favour of walking. Something I've done a lot of this week in the LAKES.
One of the reasons has to do with the total amount of stress I can or cannot handle.
Since measuring my Heart rate variability for almost a month now (see Heart rate variability post) I've been seeing the correlation between my exercise and recovery and it has allowed me to observe objectively something that I've been feeling intuitively for some time. If I have a bad week, feeling tired/ fatigued, lots of issues going on with kids and hubbies travels for work.... I have been choosing to cut the run and walk instead. It takes much less out of me but gives me back lots of additional benefits. If I'd have gone ahead and run I would have likely felt even more tired and depleted and it would have left me feeling like I wanted to be flat on my back the rest of the day.
So I am beginning to learn how to listen to my body and what it needs. Walking is my way of recharging the batteries in stead of draining them. There are lots of ways to walk.... when I walk with my friend who is training for the breast cancer marathon...walk for life....We walk FAST....that has to be on a reasonable day. When I walk with hubby... we walk and talk and put the world to right and we meander and stop to take lots of photographs!
What are the benefits?
I sometimes like to walk alone and do a walking meditation (see Mindfulness in 8 weeks post) but generally I walk with a friend and it's a very social activity. "Unloading" and sharing concerns with each other can be a real anxiety and stress reducer just on it's own...so when you put the two together (walk and talk) you get a double whammy! Walking has mood boosting powers and studies have shown moderate walking to be as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate depression.
Whenever I have some respite time I like to get out of the house and have a change in scenery. It provides a good boost of fresh air and oxygen levels together with a shot of vitamin D (see vitamin D soaking).
|Chess Valley....A favourite walk|
I love to walk in nature and follow the changes in the seasons. Even in the worst of weather, it can be a way in which we can attune and reset our circadian rhythm. After all, apparently in Sweden, there is a saying that there is no such thing as bad weather just poor equipment...so with the right waterproofs and footwear there are no excuse to not being outside.
5 minutes or 4 hours (Like the walk up The Old Man of Coniston yesterday....see more on that one in another post soon), a quick stroll or a long hike, whatever takes your fancy and fits in with the schedule. Start out at your tolerance level and work up from there. Whatever you chose to do, I guarantee you will come back feeling refreshed and revitalised and glad you did it.
P.S If you have any concerns regarding your own health it might be a good idea to talk to your health professional first for further specific advice.