When was the last time you went out on a walk? How did it make you feel?
According to a recent study, more than 40% of people say nature, wildlife and visiting local
green spaces have been even more important to their wellbeing since the coronavirus
restrictions began* . In times of stress, heading out for a walk in our local green space can
help us to feel calmer and more grounded.
It’s no surprise then that the Mental Health Foundation, the organisation that run Mental
Health Awareness Week from 10th – 16th May, is basing this year’s awareness week
around the theme of nature and getting outdoors – perfect timing for Bristol Walk Fest which
kicked off on 1st May! Age UK Bristol is encouraging everyone get outside for some fresh air
and exercise, especially people over 55.
Getting outdoors into nature doesn’t have to mean walking for miles and miles every day,
although if that’s what you enjoy, go for it! It could also mean taking part in a regular activity
like walking football (you can find out more about this activity on our website), or it could
mean a gentle walk to your local park, or even just to the bottom of the garden if you have
For those that may struggle with getting out and about we’ve collated a couple of top tips on
how to incorporate more walking into your daily life:
– If you spend a lot of time sitting, start small. Start with seated exercises, stretch your
chest, try out a hip march and practice getting up and out of your seat in a controlled
manner. You can add tiny bits of extra activity into your daily life, e.g. while you’re
waiting for the kettle to boil, walk around the room and gradually increase how much
walking you do.
– Consider getting a step counter and challenge yourself to a set amount of steps
every day. These could be completed inside (if the weather is as bad as it has been
recently!) or outdoors.
– Incorporate walking into your routine. If you need something from the shops, why not
walk instead of driving or taking the bus? If your destination is further away, consider
driving part of the way there and walking the last section.
– Get motivated to walk and invite a friend or family member to go with you. Or, if this
isn’t possible, chat to someone over the phone while you walk.
– Practice mindfulness as you walk. Focus on your favourite part of the walk, is it the
birdsong that you can hear, or the fresh feeling of the wind tugging at your jacket that
you enjoy the most? Spend time as you walk really focusing on the sensations and
– Make a plan. Pick your destination and work out the route you’re going to take. Many
people enjoy the anticipation of a trip out but it’s also very practical to take the time to
consider things like what you want to take with you for refreshments, and whether
there are any public toilets in the vicinity of your walk. If you have a smartphone,
consider downloading the Go Jauntly walking app to view a variety of free walking
routes across Bristol.
Whatever you do, take it at your own pace and enjoy your time outdoors this May.