Walking is the new yoga
THE PHILOSOPHER WITHIN US
The German weekly magazine, Die Zeit, once wrote that we become pilgrims, philosophers, politicians or artists when we are out walking as this is when we connect to our most human side. Walking is one of the first things we learn and almost everyone can do it … step, roll, push off, next foot. It’s not exactly rocket science; all we really need are two healthy legs.
Everything else becomes irrelevant once you get outdoors … little by little, your everyday worries, where you come from, what you do for a living etc. all fade into the background. Indeed, as author Christian Sauer wrote, ‘walking releases the walker from himself’. This is precisely why no other form of exercise relaxes you as much – this may sound paradoxical, but walking helps us to leave our woes behind for a while and reconnect with ourselves.
Walking releases the walker from himself.
WALKING MEANS WINNING
Walking at a steady pace through beautiful countryside also kick-starts your body, producing more of the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. Stress and frustration fizzle away quickly and your mood and general well-being improve. The connection between your brain and your musculoskeletal system is strengthened, creating neural links that enhance your mental performance. Your blood pressure also drops, making you feel calmer and much more balanced. This really is a blessing, especially in an age where we spend most of our time indoors sitting in front of computer screens. The fresh air clears your airways and helps to boost your immune system. In short, people who walk regularly become more resilient, can combat the chaos of daily life much better and aren’t ill as often. You’ll see … you’ll feel much fitter!
YEARNING FOR NATURE
If 2020 is likely to be a particularly challenging year for you, regular walking could help make you feel more able to cope with it all. This is, of course, because it encourages you to confront your limitations and overcome them. It increases your self-confidence – if you can master that steep mountain trail, you can do anything! The best thing about it is its simplicity – all your new hobby will cost you is the price of a decent pair of walking boots and some functional clothing. Once you have these, you can start right away just by leaving the house. Whether you’re by yourself, with your best friends or, even, with a bunch of complete strangers, you’ll never be alone in your passion for walking, as there are groups you can join all over the world.
THE PERFECT TRAVEL COMPANION
The amount of literature devoted to the subject clearly shows that we aren’t the only ones who share this passion! Whether it’s fictional, in the form of poetry, or more pragmatic, in the form of guides and self-help books, there’s hardly a single thought about walking that hasn’t been committed to print somewhere. Indeed, the following two books are hugely inspirational and well worth a read.
For those who are still undecided, Christian Sauer’s ‘Draussen Gehen’ (‘Walking Outdoors’, currently only available in German) will have you itching to lace up your boots. His enthusiasm for walking demonstrates how you can find both inspiration and inner peace when you're at one with nature.
Alternatively, in ‘Walking: One Step at a Time’, Norwegian adventurer Erling Kagge, who practically discovered the world while out walking, embraces the topic on a philosophical level. He says that life itself is like one long walk … be it like a gentle stroll or akin to a daring march over crevasses, we ultimately develop a sense of happiness and become one with the world.
This has left us brimming with so much positive energy that we can hardly contain ourselves … we want to be out there right now! What about you? Where are you drawn to first?