The Benefits of long distance walking
Walking, and in particular long distance walking is an addictive hobby, and lifestyle for many. But that are the benefits of long distance walking which draw so many people to this wonderful past time?
It offers so many people an escape away from the idea of a conventional holiday (sitting by a pool), where they can instead stroll through extraordinary countryside, and stay somewhere interesting each night.
And for those long distance walkers who prefer single day walks of 20 miles and more, there are a number if events frequenly held around the UK. Many hosted by the Long Distance Walkers Association.
What then, are the benefits of long distance walking?
Lets jump in and take a look!.
It helps your longetevity
Its proven that walking for a brisk pace for at least 30 minutes each day can help to drastically reduce your chances of developing heart disease, some cancers and dementia in older age. Better still, it reduces cholesterol and blood pressure. Not only is walking amazing for short term health, but also a part of building a foundation of health for older age.
It's great for your head
Walking can help to keep your head sharp, and alert. In a study published in the Neurology paper, 2008, it was shown that older adults who never exercise show clear signs of cognitive decline. However with just 6 months of walking, this can be reversed considerably.
Another study, undertaken by the University of California measured the cognitive abilities of 6000 women over 65 years old. They discovered that the mental decline was lower in women who walked the most.
It's a great way to socialise
As above, with so many events on (if that’s your thing), long distance walking offers a great way to socialise with other hiking enthusiasts.
Moreover, if you enjoy hiking long distances over multiple days the chances are you will be traveling in the same direction as other walkers who you will end up getting to know while walking.
This is a great way to meet new friends, some of whom you may know for life.
And it's a great way to find solitude
Yes, you can get the best of both worlds. Walking, one step at a time does nothing but force you to slow down, calm your thoughts and enjoy the experience of being immersed in nature. The dose of vitamin D will help bone health, alleviate stress, and even provide some protection against disease, the natural light will help you sleep well (helpful for long days on the trail). And frankly, being in nature will help you to disconnect.
It supports rural economies
If you embark on a walking holiday, over more than a day, you are helping rural economies. There are thriving economies in some small towns with the help of long distance walkers who fill the pubs and cafes, support the corner shops, and offer custom to the local hotels.
Long Distance Walking - it's a safe activity
Perhaps skateboarding just isn’t your thing. 6 weeks in plaster when you have a busy grown up schedule just doesn’t appeal. Well don’t worry because walking is pretty safe. Obvious there are trips and falls to think about, and they do happen but most of the time you get back up, brush off and carry on. Just make sure to pack the right kit for your long distance walk.
It opens a new world to you
The UK along has several lifetimes worth of long distance trails to walk. The rest of the world.. well you could enjoy it’s beauty for the end of time. Be sure to check out our money saving tips before you embark on your long distance walk.
There are so many wonderful long distance paths to explore around the world. From the popular Everest Base Camp Trek, or Inca Trail, to the Austria, Slovenia, and Italy’s Alpe Adria Trail.
Well I hope that has helped to inform you on the benefits of long distance walking. If your in any doubt of any of these benefits, check out our Facebook Group for some inspiration.
Long Distance walking is great for your physical and mental health. It take a lot of miles under foot to become a walker who can effortlessly walk distance without getting too fatigued, more so if you are carrying your own kit. Therefore seasoned long distance walkers tend to be very fit and healthy individuals.
If you are new to long distance walking and want to build up your walking muscles start with small walks, and gradually build up to longer walks. Starting with 1-2 miles a day is perfect, and eventually you may be comfortable walking 4-8 miles a day if you have a lifestyle which supports the time available to walk for a few hours each day.
Walking is a low impact activity and unless you have underlying health conditions which are being exasperated by walking then its unlikely that you are walking too much. Humans are historically nomadic creatures and would have in the past walked many miles on foot each day.
Long distance walking is excellent for weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
If you continue to walk every day your body will start to build up strength and endurance which will allow you take on harder and longer walks.