15 May 2020

Let’s Get Walking!

It’s hugely important during COVID-19 to get exercise – it’s good for the body and great for the mind.

During Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 (18-24 May) we should take time out and get walking – even better if you can access some greenspace at the same time.

Walking in nature does you good.

Studies have shown that people who spend two hours a week in greenspace feel better about their health and their life in general.

It’s beneficial to spend time outdoors – and you can make up the two hours in short sessions, whenever suits you.

Woodland path

Walking is the perfect exercise

If you would like to do some exercise, a little walking every day will:

• Improve your sense of wellbeing
• Increase your energy levels
• Help you sleep better
• Reduce your blood pressure
• Reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes
• Help keep you trim: just strolling for half an hour burns 75 calories. Walk fast and you’ll use 150 - as many as in a fruit scone!

Start slowly and build up your stamina, doing a little more each time. To get most benefit, you need to walk fast enough to raise your heart rate. If you can talk as you walk, but not sing the words to your favourite song, you’ve got the pace about right.

Walking 4

Relaxing podcast

Why not take time for yourself and plug into your surroundings using Paths for All ‘Mind to Walk’ podcast.

Narrated by radio DJ and TV presenter Edith Bowman, the ‘Mind to Walk’ audio talks you through a walk that will relax your mind as you move your feet.

Other relaxing activities whilst you walk

You can also try some of the activities below whilst on your walk to help you boost your mood and reduce stress and anxiety.

1. What can you see?
• During your walk, take note of any wild animals or interesting plant species you can see. This could be birds flying overhead, insects crawling on the pavement or spring wildflowers beginning to grow.

2. What can you hear?
• Walk quietly and notice the natural sounds, listen for things like the wind, leaves rustling, bird songs, water moving or animal sounds, anything that’s natural.

3. What can you smell?
• Notice if you catch any natural smells during your walk. Maybe summer flowers, maybe sea water if you live by the coast or maybe that ‘fresh pine’ smell if you’re walking in coniferous woods with pine, fir, spruce or larch.

4. What can you feel?
• Living in Scotland, we can often feel all seasons in one. During your walk, notice the elements, can you feel the wind blowing you, the sun on your skin, or even the rain dripping off your jacket or brolly!

Hands Around Tree

Other free resources

• Take part in a nature photo scavenger hunt by the Woodland Trust (not just for kids!)
• Watch out for wildlife with the bird identifying guide
• Read this Blog on how we can take notice of nature.

• Finding a friend in nature blog by Professor Miles Richardson 
Make space for nature by Scottish Natural Heritage

And if you need to find a great woodland to walk in then look no further than Forestry and Land Scotland.