Lucy Saunders is a professional photographer from Bath, UK. Her love of travel and the outdoors led her to create Flourish as a means to share her experiences with the world. Below she discusses the importance of getting outside and taking a walk within nature.
The Importance of getting outside to walk:
A blackbird sits upon the last of the orange pyracantha berries lining the front door. She screeches in my direction. “Tchook-tchook-tchook”, clearly agitated by my disturbance. The chill in the New Year air required gloves and a scarf before heading off for a walk. Wrapping up and feeling toasty under a multitude of layers and the cold air hitting my cheeks is one of the reasons I crave to get outside walking.
Lockdown saw a rise in walking, and as a result a new connection to nature. In a fast paced technological world the sudden stop to this pace and the need to stay at home gave everyone a chance to pause and observe the surroundings around them. Walking my local patch and journaling on the journey was one of those elements I found was such a grateful release each day. It was not only a chance to observe my natural surroundings but a time to meditate and reconnect with myself, which I had long forgotten to do.
When was the last time you did nothing but admire the sound of the birds, feeling the earth beneath your fingers or noticed the air fill your nostrils?
Walking, stopping, and observing has been an art form for a long time. Forest bathing, the Japanese art of nature therapy, uses a selection of techniques to help you realise your physical existence and presence within the nature that surrounds you. Walking is a really great way to decrease stress and improve your mental wellbeing. Studies have shown that physical activity helps to improve your mood, self-esteem, and sleep, that in turn reduces anxiety, frustration, fatigue, and stress.
Those who have a dog are always out walking. However, how many of those times are right before work or just before it is getting dark and you feel in a rush? We have all been there… you really can’t appreciate the slow, considered approach to the route you take, the paths you walk or the fields you clamber through. Next time you consider taking your dog for a walk or want to go for a stroll on your own think about taking things a little slower. Take time to stop and observe, even jot things down as you go.
Find your walking boots and explore.