Under the new rules, we are only allowed to go once a day to exercise and only from our own homes, avoiding contact with all people outside of our own household wherever possible.
This means I’m missing out on a lot of the lovely towns and countryside in Greenhavens, but am enjoying my closest green spaces more, and looking forward to seeing how the flora and wildlife change as we get into Summer. There is always something new to see.
Walking is a fantastic way to keep fit, it is great for your heart health, helps keep your weight down, and as it’s a weight-bearing exercise, it can also help prevent the bone disease osteoporosis. It is also thought that regular walkers have less colds and infections!
On a recent walk I started at the colourful flowerbeds at the War memorial. Then I walked past Blatchington pond, and up past St Peter’s church Blatchington. I chose a route through a residential area, which was very peaceful. I love peering in people’s gardens to see what is blossoming, it gives me ideas for my garden too!
Walking is often a therapeutic process, and helps clear your head as well as exercise your body. I also find that a brisk walk, helps me come up with ideas and solutions to problems.
Walking can also make you feel good about yourself. It has been said that for people suffering from depression, walking three to four times a week for 30 minutes has been shown to enhance their mood. Being in beautiful green spaces, makes this even more beneficial
While this time outside is now rationed, we really must make the most of it. So why not switch off your phone (and your problems and to-do list in your head) and really try and be mindful and in the moment. Take a good look around you, down at the grass at your feet, and up in the sky as you walk, and you may see something you have never noticed before.
Try and relax, we often hunch our shoulders when we are stressed, shrug your shoulders a few times and make sure you are releasing any tension held there.
On this walk I made my way to the Last Wood. This is a beautiful spot and should not be rushed. I really took my time, wandering along the pathways. If you can go somewhere peaceful in your “time out”, try standing still and closing your eyes. Really listen to the sounds around you. Take a deep slow breath. Concentrate on all that lovely fresh air (even fresher now the traffic has reduced!) coming into your lungs, and try and take an even deeper slow breath out again, which is very calming. Enjoy any scents that waft your way! Try and let go of any worries, and focus on something positive.
So what did I notice in my mindful meander? I noticed the magpies building their nest, heard blue tits “seep seep” in the bushes, smelled the freshly emerging vegetation. I played along with the blackbird trying to distract me away from his precious nest. I saw blossom in the hedgerows and noticed where the wild flowers were starting to push leaves through. I heard the lambs bleating in the nearby field, and I stroked the lush green moss growing on fallen logs. I wondered if the blossom was blackthorn or cherry plum (I really should learn the difference).
In the woods I saw how the alexanders were taking over, already waist height, bright green and fresh. I spotted cavities in the still naked tall trees, perhaps home to woodpeckers and owls, and I heard (and then spotted) a lovely great spotted woodpecker drumming away. And I noticed that I felt more calm, more happy and less stressed. We really need these precious moments, these spaces to focus on what we can enjoy.
On the way back I again meandered through residential streets, with more gardens, and even beautiful weeds! Ann Roe wrote a very beautiful observant blog recently, check it out here.
We would love to hear from you, on your daily exercise walks. We especially would love to hear from people in Newhaven, Peacehaven, Saltdean, Telscombe and the Ouse valley villages.
Tell us about what you have seen when out for your walk (or run or cycle ride). Photos are optional. Knowing the identification of every creature and plant is not necessary. We just want to share your pleasure in our fantastic green spaces, and remind us what we have to look forward to, when we can all get back to normal!