Come on, walk with me awhile

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SATURDAY was a good day.

There was a beer festival, a European cup final and a gig.

There were newspapers in the morning, a nap in the afternoon, and a Big Mac late at night.

What’s not to like there?

Well, yes, obviously the cheese they put on the McDonald’s burgers but that’s just being picky.

Bottom line: when I go to bed after a day like that – traces of gherkin probably still between my teeth – I may be slightly wasted but I know the day hasn’t been.

And yet...

For me this weekend was all about Sunday morning.

For me the headline act of the weekly sabbatical came in the cold and overcast when one, by rights, should still have their curtains shut – or about 10.30am, if you will.

For it was then that we – me and her – got up, got out and did this thing which is fast becoming one of my favourite activities: we went for a walk.

Nothing like it, my friend, nothing like it at all.

Feet in boots. Map in wallet. Drizzle in sky. Can’t be beat.

These days, you put me at the bottom of Wincobank’s Iron Age hill fort and I have just one question: why didn’t you pack us a flask of tea, duck?

Love it.

A good stroll is my new rock ’n’ roll. Fresh air is a mood altering drug second to none. An hour on one’s legs is a life lived well.

Strange because I’m not exactly sure when I started feeling like this.

I remember laughing at my dad because he enjoys putting his best boot forward (“Want to go for a walk?” he’d ask; “You set off and I’ll catch you up,” I’d reply from the sofa) and I remember once telling a rambler that if God had wanted us to walk he wouldn’t have invented cars.

“You’ll learn, lad,” he said, knowingly.

And, call me Vladimir Kanaykin if he wasn’t right.

For one day about a year ago now, I’m reading a newspaper and I see this 21-mile hike along the banks of the River Severn and something in me thinks: that looks ace – and not just because there’s a couple of little ale pubs en route.

And then a week or so later we’re doing it.

And, blimey, does it hurt afterwards. All we did was put one leg in front of the other for a few hours but the next morning my body feels like I went by bus – and it crashed.

But, here’s the thing, it was fab. My mind feels like it’s been ice blasted clean and even that aching is rather pleasant.

And so we started doing it more because, round Sheffield and the Peak, there’s always somewhere worth exploring.

And then last Saturday I’m in The Leadmill – drink offers, girls in fishnets, noisnik bands – and I’m standing there thinking: ‘Can’t wait to do the Five Weirs Walk tomorrow.’

It felt like a balance of power within my personality had shifted.

Odd? Well, maybe, but it’s all to do with endorphins apparently. A brisk trek releases good-mood chemicals into your brain. And because walking is relatively gentle exercise they’re released slower, meaning they stay longer. That’s science, that is. You can’t argue with it.

In short, walking is beneficial for the body and the mind.

In even shorter: Sunday was a good day too.