My walk to work – some three and a half miles through the streets of London – has always been a great way to start my day and it was quite often one of the highlights of my day. But now, like others, my walk to work is from my bedroom to the living room.
During this lockdown period in response to the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak, it is more important than ever that we get daily exercise if at all possible. Fortunately the rules still allow for us to leave the house once a day for exercise.
So rather than a walk to work, my walking focus is now my daily lunchtime walk – for which my friend (and former Living Streets fellow Trustee) John Dales has coined the phrase #WalkingFromHome. It is my daily physical activity but it also provides many other benefits. And what is great is that many friends and colleagues are also discovering the joys of #WalkingFromHome.
It provides an opportunity to refocus yourself and having a break and stretching your legs brings up your mood – much needed when the news is so depressing. People are discovering their local areas in new ways, even though they might have lived there for years, such as new paths, new pockets of woodland or open space. And people are getting in touch with nature more – noticing daily changes in this lovely Spring weather such as plants coming into flower, birdsong etc.
We know that walking is good for community spirit and this is showing itself in new ways – with rainbows in our windows and, in some places, teddy bears – so every walk can become a #bearhunt. I have noticed people placing pebbles with messages to communicate with each other.
And it would seem that we are all using local facilities more – our local shop has never been busier, we have discovered a baker along our street who bakes bread from his home kitchen for the local neighbourhood and the delivery of a veggie box is a source of joy!
So I am very happy that many people are discovering the wonder of walking and even a passionate pedestrian such as myself is finding new joys in the humble act of walking.
Let’s hope that this love of walking continues once the current Covid-19 outbreak is over and we walk together into a happier and healthier future.