These boots were made for walking...

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Ruth Warden

28 / 4 / 2016 4.42pm

It is National Walking Month this May and Ruth Warden, assistant director of development and employment at NHS Employers, has written a blog about her love of walking, including top tips to encourage everyone to get out on their feet a little more.

Walking has always been part of my life. We didn't have a car when I was younger, something to do with my dad learning how to drive tanks during his time in the army and not wanting to be in charge of any kind of vehicle again!! So we either walked or got the bus. I walked to school, my kids would be mortified at the distance I walked, but it was just what I did. When I went to uni, I got a bike and started cycling, that didn't last long, I soon reverted back to the familiar ways of walking, even though it took me longer to get anywhere.

In the days before having children, my partner Tim and I often went out to the Dales walking. Even on maternity leave, I made a point of going out each day for a walk - rain or shine.

Now, well, I walk whenever I can, I walk the dog, I walk instead of taking the tube in London. I frequently get off the tube at Green Park and walk to our London office through the parks.

What is it about walking that I like? I've thought about this a bit, of course there is the physical benefit of walking, it's easy, anyone can do it, but there is so much more. 

I love the solitude of walking, the silence, the thinking time it gives you. The rhythm of walking seems to help my brain to unravel, problems get sorted, ideas come from nowhere when I walk. I see things that I would never see if I wasn't walking. Last week when I was walking the dog one frosty morning I passed a bush that looked as if it was covered in drops of water, when I touched a drop, they were in fact all frozen - totally beautiful. On dark winter mornings, the silence and peace is wonderful, even the M62 looks beautiful in the distance, lit up like a ribbon across the landscape.

Walking provides a buffer zone for me, a space for me to think, a time between meetings to reflect and look at what's around me. 

I set myself a challenge to achieve 10,000 steps every day in March and for each day I hit my target, I donated some money to Cancer Research.  

So what have I learnt?

  • Get a dog - so many other benefits too.
  • Get some good shoes - no one wants sore feet!
  • Record your steps with something - I have an activity tracking device to know what distance I've walked.
  • Find ways of fitting walking into your day, get off the bus/tube a bit earlier or park a bit further away.
  • Invest in good waterproofs - walking in the rain is good if you are dry!
And when you walk - look up, don't look at the ground, look at the rooftops and the sky, you'll feel so much better when you arrive at wherever it is you're going.

Find out more about how you can get involved with National Walking Month this May through #Try20.

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