Walking; the steps towards a balanced life and good mental health.

Walking has always been one thing that people have done to get away from the woes of life and to get their minds back on track. I mean they even did it in the 1800s to escape the fast-growing industrial lifestyle that was unavoidable. Streets and towns were created with the intention to encourage walking for increased wellness. Sidewalks, public parks, and promenades are great examples of this.

But when thinking about walking, I think about my family and the impact of walking on my life…

As a family walking was the one way we knew it was time to destress, disappear for a little while, exercise, and also enjoy nature and the world around us. For years my parents took us on walks, mostly to tire out our little legs but to get us exploring the world, something I will appreciate. It was something that stuck with me and my sisters. It was something that we did to raise money for important moments and was a routine way to spend quality time while being taught how to use a map without getting lost in the process. 

If the chance came to walk a route and there were a few cool things on the way…Why not? Again the time this worked out well as being a student and not having a car, because walking is always easy on the pockets and gets us to the needed location, but with obvious travel time calculations.

With reflection walking now is almost a luxury in the fast-paced and often uncertain times we live in. We take the car for most of our fast-paced lives and forget to really slow it down, even when we have the time. It’s like when we aren’t moving or getting somewhere fast, we are late. Ironic right?

Abuja Traffic. (Image from the internet)

Walking in the city of Abuja gave me a chance to see the city from a different lens and perspective. It allowed me to feel like a part of the life of the country and to really see things that I often neglected to acknowledge. Some of the most beautiful walks with a loved one, alone or significant other, have included some self-reflection, insightful conversation, finding new locations, great company, giggles and even some surprising runs in with friends at junctions and traffic lights (and I don’t mean Road Safety or VIO). 

My routes often included the Maitama hills and residential streets as they brought a gentle hum and lull that was needed compared to the loud horns you hear in the city, with the added bonus of it being safe. It is even surprisingly cooler because of the trees lodged on either side of the streets; nature’s canopy and protection from the sun and those unexpected showers. 

Mississippi Street, F.C.T Abuja.(Google Maps)

Walking benefits

Now you didn’t get legs to just run. No way. We got them to walk and that is more powerful than some may think. Take for instance that a 30-minute walk can burn up to the same amount of calories as running and when done for longer can burn even more depending on the terrain explored. I would even say that walking with your favourite music makes it even more enjoyable. The health benefits of walking improve so many facets of our physical and mental health. 

To name a few: 

  • Improved mood 
  • More alertness
  • Great for Meditation/relaxation
  • Reduces Stress
  • Improves blood flow/circulation 
  • Improves cardiovascular endurance
  • Increases metabolism and fat burning (over prolonged time)
  • Anyone can do it! 
  • Comes at no expense 

What I take when walking

Okay, like I said I used to walk with my family and loved ones so there are particular routines and things to pack or prepare to do a walk. Here are some of my tips.

  • Plan a route and let a trusted person know where you plan to walk 
  • Check the weather report! (the number of times I have been soaked based on my dad’s serendipitous adventures in the woods in winter.. sigh)
  • Use or apply sunscreen before the walk
  • Keep some cash in hand – enough for a taxi, drink/snack; avoid carrying your wallet.
  • Take a small bottle of water
  • Wear a hat, visor and or sunglasses (if it is in the day). For this I would suggest appropriate attire for the weather- hence the weather check.
  • Comfortable shoes can make a big difference; New Balance trainers, cushion and impact support shoes are great, as walking shoes or walking boots. If you don’t have these whatever you are comfortable in. 

Want to join the walking culture to support Mental Health Initiatives? 

Well, why not start by signing up for the upcoming event Nigerian Mental Health Awareness Walk in the next coming days on Saturday 15th of October 2022 at 8 am WAT.  The event is being hosted by many leading mental health stakeholders including WHO, the National Mental Health Programme, the International Organization for Migration, CBM Global, MHYI and Rayven Strategic Communication. Participants will meet at the Unity Fountain at 8 am.

 To be a part of the revolution in shifting the perspective and narrative of mental health, Sign Up Now.

To keep up to date with more offers and events Tribe Sports Store offers on our Facebook and  Instagram @tribesportsstore.

Written by: @fitkaytoday and @mr_intensity365

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