As limitations on what we can do and where we can go persist due to Covid-19, some of you may be wondering what to do to unwind over half-term. Research has shown that regular walking has many benefits, both mental and physical, which we have listed below. Hopefully, it will encourage and inspire you to take some local walks, which we have also listed for you, to help you relax over this October half-term.
- Improves circulation: walking wards off heart disease, brings up heart rate, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart.
- Shores up your bones: can stop the loss of bone mass.
- Helps you live a longer life: research finds that people who exercise regularly in their fifties and sixties, are 35% less likely to die over the next eight years than their non-walking counterparts.
- Lightens your mood: walking releases natural pain relieving endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise.
- Lose weight: a brisk 30-minute walk burns 200 calories.
- Strengthens muscles: walking tones your leg and abdominal muscles – and even arm muscles if you pump them as you walk. This increases your range of motion, shifting the pressure and weight from your joints to your muscles.
- Improves sleep.
- Supports your joints: the majority of joint cartilage has no direct blood supply, getting its nutrition from joint fluid that circulates as we move. Movement and compression from walking “squishes” the cartilage, bringing oxygen and nutrients into the area.
- Improves your breath: when walking, your breathing rate increases, causing oxygen to travel faster through the bloodstream, helping to eliminate waste products and improve your energy level and ability to heal.
- Slows down your mental decline.
- Lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Helps you do more for longer: aerobic walking and resistance exercise programs, may reduce the incidence of disability in activities of daily living as one gets older.
Try incorporating walking into your daily routine, by walking to the shops, walking to work/school or simply taking the stairs. You can even download apps on your phone to track your walks, to see the distance you have walked, and calories burned.
Here we have picked out some excellent walks for you to take in your local area.
Muker, Swaledale, North Yorkshire 11km/ 6.8 miles, 4 hours, moderate.
In late spring, Swaledale’s hay meadows burst into life – a colour bonanza best absorbed after a cup of Yorkshire tea and a slice of cake. This splendid 7-mile circular route starts at Muker and follows the River Swale east to the village of Gunnerside.
Malham Tarn, North Yorkshire 8km / 3.6 miles, 2 hours, easy/ moderate.
This short walk around Malham Tarn beneath the looming cliffs of Great Close Scar offers ramblers a chance to experience a variety of habitats, from craggy limestone bluffs, to thick forest, peatland and a wildlife-rich upland lake.
Keld to Tan Hill Inn, North Yorkshire 5 km/ 10.2 miles, 6 hours, moderate.
Midway through this Yorkshire Dales walk, stop off at the Tan Hill Inn – the highest pub in Britain – before returning across the moors past Roman cairns and craggy tors.
To check out more great walks in the Yorkshire dales, here is a link to a great article.