Walking is my salvation. Even on the coldest, wettest days I’m out there. Its rhythmic motion is totally levelling. Undoubtedly it has improved both my physical and mental health.
I am probably a naturally lazy person who without a hairy friend to guilt me into getting out there I might just cosy up on the sofa with a cuppa and the newspaper, however after 16 years of dog ownership (not the same dog before you all gasp in amazement of longevity) I have become motivated to move and even when it feels like the last thing I want to do or think I have time for, when I’m out there finding some head space I am, without exception pleased to be walking. Of course, there are days when sleep deprivation is catching up with me and my legs feel like I’m wading through treacle but even a slow pace allows me the time to appreciate my surroundings and breathe in the air. Physical activity can be an alternative treatment for depression, it can reduce levels of anxiety in people with mild symptoms and may also be helpful for treating clinical anxiety. I know this to be true and I am an advocate of this.
Walking is the simplest form of exercise that is achievable to so many people of all age and ability, to take even 5 minutes to walk around the block, the park, the forest or the city, to make a note of the colour of the sky (of which there is an infinite amount) in contrast to wherever we are, to feel the air on one’s face, ice cold or comfortingly warm, it’s an escape from the day to day and a chance to be in the moment. On our own or in company it doesn’t matter because walking works in any way and at any level.
I should tell you that the process of walking has done more for me than the obvious benefit of good physical and mental health. It was whilst ambulating the footpaths in the forest opposite my house with the pooch that I realised I could further my textile career by just tweaking the direction a little. Having taken a break from Printed textile design I still wanted to use these skills but try to develop them into something else, the delight of being surrounded by a forest of texture gave me the solution, and my lifetime interest in nature served only to ignite this passion to make embroidered textile sculptures inspired by my walking and collecting.
So, there you are. Authors who draw on their own life experiences create bestsellers and I think it can be said that artists do the same thing. Creative pieces of work that have an authenticity to them can be perceived as masterpieces. There is still much to learn in my creative journey and that’s the way I like it, with further ambition to develop and hone my skills, there is no full stop because if there was I might just enjoy walking a little less or no doubt I would come up with another crazy idea of how the daily dog walk could be nurtured into a career!! I am sure there is an app that will provide these same feelings of both exhilaration and relaxation but I’m not buying into that. I’m signed up to the big outdoors, I’ve got the T-shirt....or should I say the walking boots.
Physically I am better off for walking, mentally I am better off for walking, creatively I am better off for walking... (dog not essential but good preventative laziness measure)
Inspired by walking and dog ownership books, podcasts and websites