Back in April last year, our Vice President, Susan Claris wrote the first of our #WalkingFromHome blogs, sharing with us the benefits of her lunchtime walks.
Now, some months later, she is still #WalkingFromHome but has found a surprising new joy - walking before work. Here she tells us more about her 'fake commute'.
During the summer, when lockdown rules eased and we were allowed out more than once a day, my day was structured around my lunchtime walk and then my end of working day walk. But when the clocks went back in October, it was no longer possible to walk in daylight hours after my working day. So, a re-think was necessary.
I have always been a bit of a reluctant riser – my morning alarm was not my friend. I would have always traded off a walk for some extra time asleep. So it was with some scepticism that I started my early morning walks at the start of November – and what a revelation! I now find myself looking forward to the alarm and my morning exercise, even in the depths of winter.
There is a special quality to the breaking hours of the day. The sunrise may be visible, which is always a particular joy. The light and the air feel new and clean. But most of all, what makes the early morning walk so special is the people.
Morning people greet you and say hello to strangers in a way that people walking at other times of the day rarely do. And by walking at a regular time, you tend to see the same people – often walking their dogs, but also joggers and cyclists.
I have discovered that it is a gentle way to get to know people. You start with a smile and a good morning, and day by day, the conversation moves on with some people. A comment about the weather. Asking the name of the dog. Introducing yourself by name. Little by little you learn more about your fellow morning walkers. It has been a pleasant surprise to me that in a time of lockdown, I have got to know more people in my local community.
The benefits of walking are more important than ever, for physical health and especially so for wellbeing. A smile and a hello and exchanging a few words on those walks can make all the difference to everyone’s day.