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.
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.