1. To get somewhere.

Walking is a form of transport but there are no timetables and no time pressures unless you impose them yourself. Especially in a city, it is a great way to get from A to B. And… it is the ‘greenest’ form of transport.

This point is one of those we consider in our short online course Take a Walk.

2. It’s a great way to see a place and to explore.

I believe that it is the best way to get to know a place. When I go to a new city, for instance I will always walk. When I go somewhere on holidays, I will walk. It helps me get my bearings and give me an overall idea of the place.

The reason this is different from transportation is because it’s about the journey that you take and not just getting to the destination. At the pace at which we walk, you see more and it’s so much easier to change direction and head off in the direction of something that has caught your eye.

It’s the best way to get a flavour for the culture, the people and the food and you are likely to find restaurants, shops, bars and other places off the beaten track.

‘Walking can show you things you didn’t know you wanted to see, and the whole scope of the actual globe unfolds’. I found this but don’t know who wrote it, I love it.

It’s a great way to avoid tourists, especially in busy places, even though you will come across them but you aren’t in their midst continually.

3. Enjoy Nature.

Walking anywhere is great as a form of activity and still brings many benefits but walking in nature is the best of all. It can be nature in a park, along a river or canal or in forests, among the hills and mountains, by the coast and everywhere in between.

On holidays in the Caribbean recently we did some walking in nature. One was a guided walk in the rainforest with a young local guide whose knowledge was amazing. I discovered so much in a short space of time and learned what a veritable medicine chest the island of St Lucia is. We explored with friends too using the local buses and scrambling up rocky paths to the heights and the views.

In these natural environments, it’s easier to ‘be in the moment’ bringing mindfulness in and walking itself is a great meditation. Both bring huge benefits.

4. It’s so good for your health.

It gets you moving, using your limbs especially the legs and hips and hopefully your back is getting involved too. Be aware though that it’s even better if you can let your whole body follow on, after all it is all connected. I was talking about using hiking poles recently and one reason I love that is because of the fact that it gives me an upper body workout too. Work your whole body, it will thank you.

Walking at a brisk or power walking pace, if you fancy that, also burns calories so can be incorporated into your health and wellbeing in that way too. And… it’s much more fun doing it in nature than on the treadmill.

However, walking is not only about the physicality of it, equally it’s about the mental health benefits too. The fact that it is great for clearing your mind, for getting away from routine, for having challenging conversations in a much more healthy way; for being in the moment. I used walking as a major tool in my recovery from burnout and I use it with clients for clarity, creativity and transformation.

5. Achievement.

I love a walking challenge and have done many in my time. The first one was a charity walk along the Great Wall of China in 1999 when I raised £12,500 for the British Heart Foundation, two challenges in one. Then I walked the Inca Trail; completed a two day 38 mile Breakthrough Breast Cancer Walk over two days in London and in doing so trained a group of 20 amazing women to complete it too. We were all choosing a challenge there. It was when walking my first section of the Camino de Santiago that the idea for Camino Experiences was born. I have helped many women train for walking challenges of all different sizes and shapes and I have also facilitated transformation as a result of their challenge. Many who choose to come on my walking events, even the one day weekend walks, are challenging themselves and it’s great to see the joy when they step up and achieve.

There are so many great walking paths in the UK and wider afield to challenge yourself on. The feeling of achievement and that first sip of a cool beer or equivalent to celebrate makes it all worthwhile.

6. Belonging.

Over the years I have set up and run a few walking groups and the sense of belonging is a key part of the successful ones. It’s like growing a new family and I am so lucky to attract great women who are welcoming and interesting and interested in those who are new. Our recent walk along the Thames was a great example where there was a mix of established group members and new ones and everyone loved, and blossomed, with the many interactions happening.

It’s the same on the Camino Experiences and Camino Taster where I purposely keep the groups small to build a safe environment where people feel at ease and at home and this fosters great sharing and discussion. We have a call before we even set off so that relationship building and bond can happen. All this work in turn helps in the breakthroughs and transformation and the friendships formed are long lasting. 

Anything here I can help with? Email me at heather@1millionwomenwalking.com.

07941 246619