You may have read my post about Autumn Anxiety and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Since writing it, people have asked me what the best way to beat it is. As mentioned in the post, there are several ways to combat autumn anxiety. A poll of more than 1,000 respondents suggested that over 70% of them found autumn walks helped them to beat the winter blues. Walking is good for you and your health. And the autumn season has so much going for it to make walking even more enjoyable. So let’s look at the benefits walking in autumn has on our body, mind, soul and spirit.
5 Reasons why Walking in Autumn is so Good for Your General Wellbeing
Coming back from our mini-break in Wye Valley (Herefordshire, England), I immediately booked another holiday there. It was great, and I can’t wait to go back again! You can view my very short video from Wye Valley also on IG, Twitter or Tiktok. What did I notice whilst on our walks? It was the impact of walking on my physical and spiritual health. I realised how leaving everything behind and going for a walk in the fresh air boosted my well-being. So why is walking in the autumn season so good for you? Here are the five possible reasons:
1. Physical Health
Your body is a temple, and it’s up to you to care for it so that it doesn’t end up in ruins. Walking is an excellent way of keeping our bodies in shape. Doctors even ‘prescribed’ walking for me after my back injury. Unfortunately, my reduced mobility after my accident caused my muscles and joints in my lower back to stiffen. Given this, walking is really good for me as it increases flexibility in my lower back by stretching the muscles and supports my spine by strengthening them.
Walking isn’t something that only has positive benefits for our health during recovery though. Regular walks also help to improve our immune system. Walking helps us also to lose weight and get fitter. It helps to shape our figure by toning our muscles, especially our legs, stomach and bottom. A recent study also shows that going for walks is more enjoyable than sweating in a gym. No wonder that those going for walks are more likely to stick with exercising. An interesting fact I did find was that it also reduces the urge to snack. Apparently, 15 minutes of walking can lower the triggers that prompt craving. So you are less likely to reach after those naughty treats after a walk.
2. Autumn Colours
I would definitely recommend an autumn trip to Wye Valley if you are looking for an autumn escape in England. It is so beautiful. The crisp leaf’s and the warm, earthy colours are so tempting. You have to go for a walk outdoors to admire God’s creation. All the colours remind me of how nature reveals God’s beauty and love to us. Stroll through Wye Valley, and you will feel how the colours lift your mood. A poll shows that people feel calmer, happier and healthier after an autumn walk. According to Angela Wright, colour psychologist, natural colours that we see in nature during the autumn season can inspire us and raise our spirits.
3. Autumn Weather
I have to say that the autumn weather is lovely in the UK this year. It’s actually better than it was for much of the summer. We had glorious sunny weather in September, and October wasn’t bad either. Hopefully, it will continue. However, as the saying goes – there is no bad weather only bad clothing. We had pleasant weather in the Wye Valley during our walks at the end of October. What is there not to like about those misty mornings which turn into clear, crisp days when nature displays every shade imaginable? The sun makes the colours shine bright, and it reminds us of God’s glory and creativity.
Autumn is the perfect season for walks. It isn’t too hot anymore, so you happily swap lazing on the beach or by the pool for a bit of physical activity. But neither is it too cold, so you can gleefully go for a peaceful walk followed by a hot drink. I remember how I wished for a bit of shade whilst doing my sponsored walk on St Mary’s Island (Isles of Scilly, England) on a sunny day in summer, but there wasn’t much of it.
4. Less Crowded!
And this is exactly what you need for a perfect peaceful walk in nature. On our travels to St Mary’s, where I was doing my sponsored walk this summer, we stopped at several places on the south coast and some of them were just too overcrowded. It is much harder to enjoy nature when the area is full of tourists. Luckily it wasn’t too jammed on St Mary’s Island. It’s summer when children have long holidays so it’s natural that most people take holidays during that season. However, given the travel restrictions during the pandemic, many people decided on a Staycation. For this reason, people were packed like sardines at some of the places we visited.
You are less likely to have this problem in autumn. Especially during the pandemic, this is the best time to stay active whilst also keeping safe. It’s also easier to find accommodation, and the prices are usually lower than during the peak season. You will also avoid the long queries for facilities and attractions. And you don’t need to feel that someone is going to push you over if you spend too long admiring a masterpiece or the view. These make autumn the perfect time for reflection, connection with nature as well as yourself and God. And this brings me to my last point.
5. Spiritual Connection
With fewer people around, I find it easier to connect with myself, nature and God. The silence and solitude as I walked around the Wye Valley helped me to feel so close to God. I admired all his creations, the beauty around me. And we were lucky enough to even see a rainbow against a beautiful backdrop. For me, the rainbow doesn’t represent only God’s promise that He would never destroy the earth with a flood, but also that I’m never alone. Whatever storm I may be facing in my life, I’m never alone. He is always with me. However, to enjoy the rainbow, we need to be prepared to endure the storm. Walking around the Wye Valley, stopping to admire the rainbow and then enjoy the sunshine, reminded me of exactly that. After every storm come sunny days.
Walks are great for reflection and soothing our souls. Walking is also of great benefit for our mental health. Research shows that walking reduces stress, depression and anxiety. Walking was also a great stress reliever during the pandemic. It is so because it pumps up your endorphins, chemicals in your brain that stimulate relaxation and improve your mood. As someone who suffers from PTSD symptoms, walking helps me to unplug from the stresses of life and clear my mind. It helps us to feel energised, refreshed and also improves our sleep
Start to Beat Winter Blues Today!
It is proven that a one-hour walk every day before dusk can help you to cope with the winter blues as much as light treatment. For me, going for walks is one of the best self-care tips during the colder months. And besides all the benefits mentioned, it’s free and doesn’t require lots of time and effort like some other types of self-care may do. It is a simple way of helping you to balance your mind, body and soul during the long winter months. So why not be inspired and do something good for your physical and spiritual health? You can start to develop this good habit of walking today!
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