Wellbeing of walking


I was recently diagnosed with diabetes.  One of the things I have to do to keep it under control is walk for half an hour day.  I’ve not been much of a walker for years and so this is a bit of a challenge for me!  My friend and fellow Leeds Wellbeing Webber Su is a big fan of walking, so I interviewed her about this. We sat outside the Abbey Inn pub that borders Horsforth and Bramley and took some photos of the area.

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Many people, if not most, get into a habit of not exercising and have little motivation to change this.  What would you suggest to overcome this Su?

I do struggle with motivation.  Sometimes arranging to go with someone else is enough to focus on doing it, or convincing myself that I’m really not fit and listening to my body. I need to just get on and do it and dedicate myself to it. A practical thing I do is to write a large memo as a prompt and place it somewhere prominent as a reminder that I want to get out of the house and walk.

People often say walking is the best exercise and can raise your mood.  What is your experience of this?

I think that is absolutely true. And there are benefits to walking with other people, for companionship and safety.  I did have a time where I dedicated myself to doing it everyday. I’d do it without headphones and music, take a notebook because solutions to problems that seemed insurmountable would kind of float to the surface as you’re walking. Kind of like meditation.  If you’re doing it by yourself, you can enter into that state.

Where and when do you like to walk?

Because there isn’t always someone to go with, it has to be local.  That’s Leeds 13, Bramley.  When I’ve felt fitter, I have walked from Bramley to Horsforth, across the boundary, the river and canal.  That’s a nice long walk.  I like Bramley Fall Woods and Bramley park.  There is a fabulous view from there.  I like Half  Mile Lane, which borders Bramley and Farsley.  Going further afield, Roundhay Park and Woodhouse Moor are pleasant.  I attend Leeds University and the campus is an enjoyable place to walk, it includes Saint George’s field.

Have you always enjoyed walking?

Yes it was very much part of my upbringing.  We always walked to school, I walked at least four miles a day, to and from Primary School. I always walked to work.  But I’m not a hiker or country rambler, I find that hard nowadays.  I walk to the shops and town.  I keep in mind it should be a daily activity.

To summarise then,  motivation can be improved by having a walking companion, using prompts to focus, walking can help you to think more clearly and gain insight into any problems, Walking is an opportunity to enjoy nature and it’s scenery, it is the best exercise and helps raise your mood.

Daniel Tavet

‘Life is not a bowl of cheer….ies’ (Keen) ..sometimes it’s bananas

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Relentless cheerfulness can be a barrier to authentic communication, especially for those affected, by mood ‘disorder’. I doubt the diagnosis of bipolar truly represents the changes of mood I sometimes experience. At times low mood makes it hard for me to plug in to the pursuits I usually find uplifting, reading, listening to music or the radio, all lose their appeal. Only the act of sitting quietly ’eases my troubled mind’.

During these times I need to filter and limit external distractions. I leave the phone on silent, but welcome email, it doesn’t need immediate attention, and its scope for more reflective content. I like mobiles phones for that quickie text, ….’free to chat’…. ‘how ya doin?   wanna meet 4 cuppa?’

By the second or third day the necessity for food shopping forces me out of the house. There are adequate shops within walking distance of my home in Bramley, and the  local café facilities allow me, shakily, to venture out. This enables me to return to a more at ease frame of mind.The combination of the exercise involved, the stimulation of choosing meal ingredients, help to restore my equilibrium. I’ve been a permanent resident in Bramley since 1988, but my family moved here in the late sixties. and I a visitor for all that time. A shopping trip therefore is also a time to pass the time of day with the ‘locals’.

This last week found me experiencing ‘that long black cloud comin’ down’, but Terry’s reminder for blog contributions , gave me some impetus to think creatively, although I felt practically housebound. I had to rely on subject matter within easy reach of home, some cherries and bananas just bought, and a trip to my local library!

The library was built in 1927 and still retains most of its original architectural features; oak panelling, shelving, parquet flooring and a glass domed roof.  Visits to Bramley library always evoke memories of the similarly decorated, art deco library in Wakefield’s Drury Lane, which had been a ‘hiding place’ or sanctuary in my youth.

Bramley library in Hough Lane has really useful extended opening hours:

10.00 to 19.00 Mon and Wed

10.00 to 18.00 Tues, Thurs and Fri

10.00 to 15.00 Saturday        12.00 to 15.00 Sunday

together with helpful staff.

This week’s trip gave me information about an art exhibition, ‘Story of the Dance’ currently displayed at the Art Library, 1st floor, Central Library Leeds, continuing until 30th August.

A friend knowing my spirits were low suggested we meet for a cuppa at the gallery, we took a look at this display and the Fiona Rae paintings. Karolina Syzmkiewicz, the artist of the images of dancers, was in the gallery and she took time to explain how she manages to depict so expressively, in her sketches, the movement of the dancers.

Other events I noted were Heritage Open Days, 6th to 9th September, this is when the public will be given the opportunity to have free access to buildings not normally open to them, contact: http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk or phone 0113 243 9594 for full list of updates, alongside listings of walks and talks throughout the city,  check out scheduled colourful display of ‘Yoruba Textiles: cloth and tradition in West Africa’ at Leeds University from 5th September through to March.

An art noveau style poster, created by one of the Bramley librarians, attracted my attention to their Steampunk book display, as I’d not heard of this genre I asked the staff what it is…….. ‘futuristic sci-fi’…..A collection of short stories with one entitled ‘The Mechanical Aviary of Emperor Jala-ud-din Mohammad Akbar’ by Shweta Narayan looked intriguing, so there’s yet another book to peruse on my to read pile………when my mojo rises.

Sue Margaret