Walking has been a key part of the last year, helping to keep us sane and allow us out of the house for once. But for a lot of us, we often walk with our heads buried, looking down, glancing at our phones, listening to music or a podcast, not really taking in what’s around us. It can be daunting to go for a walk in the winter weather and boring to keep going over the same routes as always. In this article, we have ten tips for bringing new life to your daily walk.
Look for birds
Winter is often considered the quiet period in nature, but if you open your eyes (and ears), you can see that there is a lot happening. Between the green parakeets found all over London and the starlings forming murmurations at dusk, not to mention the flowers that are beginning to peek out of the ground in mid-February, there are always new things to spot on your daily walk.
Try mindful walks
By introducing mindfulness into our everyday activities, we can fully appreciate their importance in our life. For our daily walks, this can be extremely beneficial, not only for our mental health, but also for our physical health. Introducing mindfulness can reduce our stress, help you sleep better, and encourage you to maintain walks even when you don’t have to. Try counting your steps, using an app or video like this one, or including essential oils like this one, to help you take a mindful walk.
Walk your route backwards
Even something as simple as reversing the way that you usually walk can have a definite impact on how you view your tried and true routes. There’s always something new to discover, especially since, during lockdown, we have all the time in the world, so go ahead and turn left instead of right on your next walk.
Use an app to find new ways to walk
There are plenty of apps that can help you to freshen up your daily walk. There’s Treasure Trails, which sells downloadable walking routes with clues and landmarks to spot as part of interactive adventure stories and brings local history to life in British towns and cities. World Walking which allows you to trail some of the world’s most famous routes, like the Great Wall of China and crossing the Sahara. There are plenty of ways for you to use technology to spice up your walks.
Raise some money for charity
We all remember the late Captain Sir Tom Moore’s incredible walks that raised over £32 million for NHS charities. Follow his lead and use your daily walks to raise money for your favourite charity. You can register it directly with the charity or use a third party service to raise the money.
Challenge your friends to a walk off
Not only is this a way to encourage yourself and others to keep walking, it’s a great way to keep in touch with your friends and family. See who can walk the most in a given time frame and the winner can get a prize of your choice. It keeps you healthy and connected with the people you love.
Chat to a friend
Lockdown can be an extremely isolating time for us all, especially if you live alone. We all need people other than ourselves to talk to, so reach out to that friend you haven’t talked to in a while and go for a walk with them. If you start to run out of things to talk about, which, we’re all running into these days, you can tell them about the things you’re seeing on your walk.
Get lost on purpose
There’s something to be said about taking a route that you’ve never thought of before, just pick a direction and keep walking. It can introduce you to overlooked neighbourhoods or things that you’ve never noticed before. It forces us to be more aware of our surroundings so we can find our way back. So you won’t only find a new potential route to take, it also makes you be more mindful and focus on the task at hand.
Identify plants you’re seeing
Download a tree guide from the Woodland Trust to discover the plant life in your neighbourhood. You can learn more about the native habitat you live in and feel a sense of accomplishment in that. If you discover a new plant that you’ve never seen before, the app PictureThis can help you to identify it. It’s great for both adults and children and forces you to pay more attention to your walk without keeping your head buried.
Solve a problem
There have been numerous studies on how walking helps us to sharpen our mind and encourages creativity. When you’re stuck on a problem at work or feeling overwhelmed, it can be beneficial to take a walk, whether it’s for a break or just a change in perspective. It can be the perfect time to draft that email, mentally plan your next task, or think about your next steps. You can also just spend that time daydreaming, something that a lot of adults forget to do. Simply use your time walking to think and take a break from your current tasks.