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WALKING AND THE BRITISH OBSESSION WITH THE WEATHER…

A few interesting facts about the British obsession with the weather.

Did you know that a survey has shown that the British spend nearly six months just ‘talking’ about the weather. Apparently we are obsessed with the English weather. It’s one of the most common ways to start a conversation, which check-out staff at supermarkets have to listen to time and time again.


We spend almost five times a day talking about it and spend longer discussing it than we do discussing sport or work!!


Women talk about it more than chatting about their men, love lives and gossip and twitter gets around 500,000+ tweets a week about it.


Older people apparently have three times as many conversations about it and still believe in old wives tales, such as , cows sitting down (rain comes) and red sky at night (shepherds delight). Even Twitter gets over 500,000 ‘tweets’ about it.

These findings prove that we are a nation who is totally obsessed with the weather and how we can go from one season to another in one day.


But, no matter what the weather walking or cycling in it, are the two most popular ways at the moment to keep fit. With watches and phones that can count our steps for us some of us become obsessed with trying to get in our daily 10,000 steps. Even health companies have got on board who will reward you if you keep up with your steps.

For me personally, I do have a watch that counts my steps and I do check it regularly to see how I am getting on and if I do not manage to get out for a walk due to the weather !! (I’m not one to walk in the rain) then I do try to do a few more steps up and down my stairs but 10,000 is out of my league. My back just doesn’t like me to do more than 7,000 but I feel the benefit of that so it’s better than nothing.

The NHS point out that walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.

Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier.

You do not have to walk for hours. A brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.

The British Heart Foundation has some walking plans you can follow and other programs available online are Weight Watchers, or you could sign up and walk for your favourite charity. I am sure Captain Tom has inspired many people to do,just that.

Walk for Water have set up challenges for March for people to walk 4, 8 or 12 kilometres for their charity. Walk where you can, when you can, and raise funds to help make clean water normal for everyone, everywhere.

Walk for the millions of women and children who walk distances like this every day to get the water they need to survive.

All distances reflect a walk that women and girls around the world have to take each day to reach water. Women and girls like Tiyamike, Majory and Felisberta.

When you Walk for Water, you’re helping to give Tiyamike, Majory, Felisberta and others across the world the power to change their own lives, forever.

Lots of other charities have walks you can sign up for including Memory Walk, for Alzheimer’s, British Heart Foundation, Help the Heroes and lots more to choose from online.

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IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO MAKE YOUR NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS…

An article from Health Plus on making New Year resolutions.

It’s thought that over 25% of the population makes New Year’s resolutions each year, with the top three resolutions all focusing on health and diet. Despite such optimism, only a quarter of those who set New Year goals, manage to stick to them. Here, Simon Bandy of nutritional supplement specialists Health Plus, highlights what health resolutions we should be setting and when if we really want to form new habits..

Winter:

·  Eat porridge and risotto – If you want to get more vitamins and fibre into your diet, eating porridge or barley risotto is an easy and delicious way to achieve this. A nourishing bowl of something hot is just what you need on a chilly day. The goodness in these winter grains can help maintain blood glucose levels, keep hunger at bay and slow gastro-intestinal transit—fantastic benefits and all you have to do is eat!  

·  Get outdoors – The lack of sunlight during winter can disrupt our sleep and waking cycles. No matter the weather, try and get outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible. Country walks have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, while other benefits include expending more calories (your body consumes more calories when it’s cold), and boosting the capacity of your heart; when it’s cold, the body seeks to maintain its internal temperature at a constant level of about 37°C, by increasing the flow of blood. The heart will therefore pump more quickly and become stronger. It’s also thought that practising power walking in winter can reduce illness as your body will gradually get used to the cold and strengthen its defences to attack winter germs.

Spring:

·  Visit the farmers’ market – An easy way to kick-start your spring health goals is to increase your servings of non-starchy vegetables and fresh fruits. This is the perfect time of year to check out your local farmers’ markets and experience the health benefits that shopping locally can provide. The food there will have normally been grown locally, be in season, and picked that morning or the day before, so it’s fresher than anything you could get at a supermarket, and therefore higher in nutrients and antioxidants. Furthermore, you’ll be able to experience some amazing spring produce, such as artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, gooseberries, rhubarb and more (all of which have additional health benefits in their own right).

·  Clear the mind – Working on your mental health is important no matter the time of year. However, for those who may not have thought about their mind’s activity before, spring can be a great time to start, thanks to the warmer weather, lighter nights and the awakening of new life. The practice of mindfulness can benefit your health in so many ways from relieving stress and lowering blood pressure, to treating chronic pain, alleviating gastrointestinal difficulties, and improving sleep. Anyone can practice mindfulness and the charity Mind offers some great exercises and tips to get you started.

Summer:

·  Quit smoking – A lot of people set New Year’s Day as the date to stop smoking. However, summer can be a much better time to quit; daily routines change with more sunshine, making us feel more relaxed, so smoking triggers are less frequent. Holidays home or away can also help as key components of your day change. That quick morning coffee and a cigarette may become a relaxed breakfast of juices and pastries, for instance, without the association of the cigarette. Activities also differ, distracting you from your usual habits and triggers.

·  Reduce screen time – Smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions—too much screen time can really affect our health from reducing brain functionality, causing eye strain, promoting poor posture, and increasing the risk of obesity, heart disease and even depression. Summer is an ideal time to give our bodies a break and put some simple changes in place that can hopefully be carried through, or adapted, to suit all year round. Suggestions include: not eating in front of a screen—make the most of the warmer nights and enjoy alfresco dining; putting a ban on your phone and laptop—use the lighter evenings to read a book, go for a stroll, play a game of tennis, or take up a new craft hobby; and meeting face to face rather than texting or using social media to catch up—the days are longer in the summer so there’s more time for morning coffee chats or an evening drink in the local pub.

Autumn:

·  Love your liver – With Christmas around the corner your liver may be put to the test. Autumn is a great time of year to start introducing small changes to your diet that will not only benefit your liver over the festive season but will also help detox your body long term. Try cutting down on caffeine and setting yourself goals for drinking more water. Consider taking supplements like Liver Kind which are high in vitamins, minerals, artichoke and key amino acids—great for helping to detoxify the body and eliminate harmful chemicals.

·  Go to bed It’s not just children that should have a regular bedtime; adults can benefit too. A little structure when it comes to bedtime can aid weight loss, lower blood sugar and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Going to bed and waking up at a regular time every day can also help maintain a well-functioning metabolism. Winter is the perfect time to introduce your body to a new routine; not only do the darker nights naturally make us sleepier, but our bodies also generally sleep better when it’s a little cooler.

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SIMPLE WALKING CAN VASTLY IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING…

Getting out in the snow is difficult for anyone and not advised for many in case they slip but the snow won’t be around much longer so we have no excuse to get outside and walk.

Walking, they say can improve your health ten fold and some say a 10 minute brisk walk is enough and others say 20 minutes but if you can start with the 10 minutes you will soon see the benefit. It can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also help with lower back pain.

White blood cells and antibodies help in determining any illness faster. When you exercise daily, they modify these cells, helping you identify and prevent any disease. Daily workout also lessens the stress hormones that are responsible for many diseases.

If you find walking a bit boring or monotonous you could listen to endless Podcasts. Good Housekeeping has 45 of the Best Podcasts to listen to in 2021. You could learn a language. You could learn all about the spring flowers, trees and the leaves you pass on the road. If you just simply want to walk for health and some fresh air and don’t own a Fitbit then why not download an app and keep your phone in your pocket so it can register how many steps you have taken. Or, download the NHS Active 10 app ( more details below).

On the website Low Impact there is a great article called ‘Why I walk : A conversation with a walking guide’, with Emma Cunis who offers walks and nature connection events on Dartmoor, for transforming health, wellbeing and performance. Emma is passionate about the land, and our place in it. She shares how for her, it’s not all about hiking long distances, but taking time to enjoy the moment, be present and feel your connection to something bigger.

When Jessie Watson Brown of Oak and Smoke Tannery asked Emma why she loved walking, she explained that “There are many different reasons. I felt some kind of compulsion to be out, to go out, to somehow feel the ground under my body. Feel the nourishment of this exquisitely beautiful place and walking helps to ground me. I’m less in my head, more in my body. Less in the future and the past, more in the moment.

Everything slows down. Everything is gentler and more relaxed, and I started to feel better.

Then there is the physical wellbeing and health.

I also feel connection and wonder all the way back through the ages of how men and women would have walked on the land and taken pilgrimages. There are all sorts of ancient tracks on Dartmoor that people followed, ancient routes. 

I walk to feel part of nature, and not separate from it.

As I’ve got older and having been unwell I walk more slowly, so I see more. And the joy and the connection of seeing a little beautiful flower or creature that I might not have spotted if I just hiked past is fantastic.“.

Healthline have a list of 10 benefits of walking which are –

  1. To burn calories up
  2. To strengthen your heart
  3. It can help lower your blood sugar
  4. To ease joint pain
  5. To help boost your immune system
  6. To boost your energy
  7. To improve your mood
  8. To extend your life
  9. To tone your legs
  10. To help creative thinking

Check out the NHS website on the benefits of walking. Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.

Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier.

You do not have to walk for hours. A brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise. Use the Active 10 app. The Active 10 app allows you to track how much and how fast you have walked. To keep things interesting, it gives you goals to work towards and rewards your progress. Download the Active 10 from the NHS website here.

There is also a brilliant book called Every Day Nature by Andy Beer (National Trust Book) which encourages you to find beauty in the everyday and forge a powerful connection with the nature than can be found on your doorstep.