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Ways to refresh your daily walk during the lockdown

29th March 2021

Parks across the UK have never felt so loved as the coronavirus pandemic has seen many people use them for fresh air, fitness or just for an escape. Although the restrictions of lockdown are set to slowly ease in the coming weeks and months, there will be many restrictions still in place which means one of the best ways for people to get the exercise they need will be to continue to go on their daily walk.

From older people with a mobility problem who need to use stairlifts and other aids to get around to teenagers, walking has been so important over the past year as there are lots of mental and physical health benefits associated with walking.

However, after months of not much else to do, it’s easy to find the same daily walk boring. This guide takes a look at the different ways you can refresh your walk.

Top tips for refreshing your daily walk

•Reverse your usual walk

•Count the different flowers you can spot

•Listen to a podcast

•Count how many bird species or dog breeds you see

•Start taking photographs

•Other activities to refresh your walk

Reverse your usual walk

Refreshing your daily walk doesn’t need to be complicated and something as simple as reversing your usual loop is one example of how you can mix up your stroll.

Alternatively, you could mix it up by slightly altering your normal route in some way, even if it is only walking down a slightly different footpath or road to the one you normally walk down.

This is something that Sarah Irving from the blog The Urban Wanderer recommends: “Sometimes the simplest ways to refresh your daily walk is by going the opposite way, choosing a left turn instead of right at a junction or checking Google Maps for a photo point and making your way there to discover something new. I have been enjoying trying to walk on every street near my house to see what I find. I find it is a great way to get playful with your route and help you learn new things about where you live. You can also try to remember the street names while you are wandering.”

Count the different flowers you can spot

Walking the exact same route can get boring after a while, but one thing you can look at doing is to introduce a game into your daily walk and with the UK now in Spring you could look to incorporate this into your walk by seeing how many different types of flowers you can spot.

This is a game that Rebecca, who runs the family blog, I Always Believed in Futures, recommends playing on your next walk.

“Try a different route in your local area to mix things up and as it is now coming into Spring, see how many different types of flowers you can spot. Perhaps even make it into a game if there is more than one of you going for a walk - see who can spot the most.”

Listen to a podcast

Podcasts are now commonly listened to and are becoming increasingly popular amongst the older population. They aren’t just a great home entertainment option as people can listen to them on their phones whilst they are out.

The familiarity of radio and the modern benefit of instant accessibility means podcasts offer a lot to the older generation. There is also a podcast on almost any topic, including football, TV, crime and lots more.

There is no better time to get lost in a good podcast than when you are out walking as you can learn something new or laugh as you walk in your local area.

Jodie Paterson runs her own blog and she thinks finding and listening to a new podcast is a great way to mix up your daily walk.

“Find a new podcast to listen to. If you’re finding yourself cutting your walks short because you’re bored find an engaging podcast to keep you company when you venture out. There are so many genres to choose from that can fit anyone’s interests, my current favourite is The Cryptid Factor.”

READ MORE: A beginner's guide to podcasts for older people

Count how many bird species or dog breeds you see

No matter whether your daily walk is in a park or just along some streets close-by to where you live, something that is a certainty is that you will see different types of bird species or dog breeds on your travels.

Something that people have been doing to spice up their walk during the pandemic is to keep a record of the bird species they see and compare it with the next time they walk the same route. Whether it is pigeons or robins, there will be more breeds flying around than you would probably think.

The same can be done for dogs as you can test your knowledge on the different breeds you see. This is something Jodie Paterson would recommend: “If you like to take digital free walks, I highly suggest looking for a list of things. By this, I mean trying to see one of every dog breed you can think of or every flower in season. Make a list on paper with something like ‘poodle, jack russell, dalmatian’ and tick them off as you see them.”

If you are counting how many bird species you can see and you live by some open fields, then it might be a good idea to walk there at dusk as you might be able to spot the beautiful silhouettes of barn owls hunting along the hedgerows, birds of prey gliding along the skyline or see a starling murmuration.

You can play similar types of games with other animals, whether it is insects, cows or sheep.

Start taking photographs

You can turn your walk into what is called ‘a photo walk’ where essentially you pay a bit more attention to your surroundings and find interesting things to photograph along your normal route.

There are subjects all around you and now is the perfect time to open your eyes and look for the unexpected. Here are just some of the things you could photograph on your daily walk:

•Flowers & Plants

•Postboxes

•Berries

•Woodland

•Birds

Taking photographs is something Jodie Paterson likes to do. She said: “Get creative and start taking photographs. You don’t need a fancy camera to do this, most phones now allow us to take some amazing photos. This will help you choose paths you wouldn’t normally go on and discover new areas.”

Other activities to refresh your walk

There are lots of other activities you can include in your walk that will add a bit more joy and excitement and here are some further suggestions for things you can do.

Fi Darby, one of the founders of the Two Blondes Walking blog, spoke about some other things to try that will get more out of your next walk.

“With all the worries and strains of the last year, getting outside is more important now than it ever was. Even the shortest wander can settle your mind, take you out of the every-day and improve your physical fitness.

“You might feel like you’ve completely explored your local area but there’s always more to find out. We suggest:

“Exploration is as much about detail as it is about distance. The important thing to remember is to take that first step.”

Why is it important to get out and walk?

Now you know some of the activities you can try to refresh your daily walk, but why is it important to get out and go for a walk regularly? It’s recommended that everyone targets 30-minutes of activity, five times a week and while some people may go running or work out in the gym, walking is accessible to all, including older people who have mobility problems and need aids such as straight stairlifts.

Below are some of the huge benefits of walking that are especially relevant during the current coronavirus pandemic.

It breaks up the day

For many people, the pandemic and the various lockdowns have meant that days have rolled into one, especially for those who have been working from home.

Sarah Irving speaks about how going out for a walk regularly has helped with her routine. She explains: “It is especially important to get out for a walk during the pandemic because it creates space and separation from the rest of our lives in our house, whether that is your general time or working from home and helps create a sense of routine if you go out at the same time every day. Getting out on foot helps you to meet people in your community, which boosts interaction in a time when it can be quite isolating, and it also gets your heart pumping and fresh air into your lungs. All of this will really help you to weather the storm and bring you out the other side with new friends and a good habit to take you into the future.”

It improves your wellbeing

As this article on the Evening Standard website reveals, according to some experts, just 10-minutes of walking can improve your mental wellbeing. “Walking can reduce anxiety, depression, and a negative mood. It can also boost self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social withdrawal.

“Creating the time to go for a walk every day during the lockdown has allowed some people who are feeling isolated to make new friends in their community as well as being a huge benefit to their mental and physical health.”

Jodie Paterson spoke more about the importance of getting our for a walk: “It is important for people of all ages to be getting out for walks during the pandemic. It helps us get vitamin D which is vital to keeping us healthy mentally. Keeping active will also improve our mental health and generally boost our mood. If we stay inside all week and don’t go out, we’ll start to feel really low and lose the energy we would have had otherwise. Staying fit is another big factor, for many people walking is their main form of exercise. If we spend months and months doing no exercise, coming out of the pandemic will feel so much harder because we’ll need to build up our fitness level again.”

This article has shared just some of the ways you can refresh your daily walk as well as discuss the importance of getting out for a stroll during the pandemic. If you want to read similar stories, then you can take a look at the news section here.

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.