Secrets of health and happiness: worms and walks

At last the sun is shining and everyone’s getting excited and motivated. The health campaigns have kicked off, and we are all being urged to get fit and in touch with nature. But where do you start?

Lorton Meadows 35Health and wellbeing campaigners are an opportunistic bunch. They like to catch us at our most vulnerable. The terrifying thought of the flesh-baring holidays provides the chance to get us motivated for fitness. And once we see a little sunshine we are urged to herd our children outdoors as The UK Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild campaign kicks off on 1st June, in the hope of inspiring families to discover nature.

A few weeks ago we tweeted the findings of a new report showing that a third of UK children spend less than 30 minutes a day outside. And this weekend Sunday Times journalist Simon Barnes, reported that 27% of children have never played outside by themselves beyond their own gardens.

shutterstock_128021390These pretty depressing statistics have prompted a blitz of talk about nature, fresh air and exercise, often making reference to our children’s health and wellbeing and a concern about their excessive screen time. In his article Simon Barnes talked about the need to turn off screens and get kids outside to ‘go wild’. He beautifully describes about the “thrill of disgust, the thrill of connecting with another living thing, the thrill of life, all written on the child’s face in three giant Os: two eyes and a mouth. A worm!”.

In another quest to get us all outside and engaged with our environment, #Try20 is a scheme run by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking. They urge us to sign their pledge to walk for 20 minutes a day during May, National Walking Month, and hopefully beyond. Their motivational strapline is great: “Feel the burn. Feel fitter. Feel brighter. Feel more connected. Try 20.”

If you live in a city and/or take public transport, walking for 20 minutes is, shall we say, a walk in the park. A walk to the bus or train is a great chance for a brisk walk. But for those whose daily commute involves swinging four wheels into the driveway, a 20 minute walk is more of a challenge.

Lorton Meadows 65Here are our three favourite tips to make walking part of your life.

  1. Have you ever tried a walking meeting? Taking notes can be a challenge, but perhaps speaking notes into your phone would work. A day in the office can often involve chair-hopping to different meetings. Getting out for a walk offers a change of scenery and a different perspective which can only improve creativity and productivity.
  2. Plan a walk and take your camera. You may capture some photography gems to share on social media. Remember to use the hashtag #Try20 and #JournalsOfALifetime.
  3. Instead of inviting friends for coffee and cake, get out for a walk instead. Walk at a relaxed pace and have a chat. You’ll be surprised how far you can walk while having a natter. You could even set up a regular walking group.

As the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” We feel inspired to give it a try.

Lorton Meadows 91Would you like to help a child you know make their outdoors special? Order Rant & Rave, My Wild Life now. Packed with fun activities and prompts to help them log their passion for nature and the outdoors. Award-winner at the Gentle Parenting Awards 2016! Order yours now with free UK delivery if you use the voucher code ‘OUTDOORS’. Expires at midnight on 31st May and is subject to availability. Enjoy!



Netmums: New report shows a third of children spend less than 30 minutes outside

The Wildlife Trusts: #30DaysWild campaign

Sunday Times: Simon Barnes

Living Streets: #Try20 campaign for National Walking Month