Why a walk every day is so good for you

A walk is good for everyone. There is much scientific evidence of the value of walking for mental and physical health.

For us at Promenades Travel, a walk is so important because wherever we are, the ground itself can speak to us about events that have happened there – if we dare to listen.

This is the importance of place. The ‘genius loci’ as the Romans called it. The spirit of a place. It has been known for centuries that there are ground truths –and we must use our senses to hear, to see, to feel these truths in the places we experience: the landscapes, the fields and trees, the buildings, rooms and gardens.

We all know that a place can have a certain ambience – sometimes gruesome, sometimes inspiring, sometimes frightening… We are drawn to these places to experience that very atmosphere – to better understand how a certain place makes you feel…

We can see and learn how a particular place, be it a room or a landscape has influenced outcomes: how the topography of a battlefield explains why certain events happened, decisions were taken, reactions occurred…

Or why a great monastery was built in a particular valley, beside a river where all the needs of daily life, (the ability to grow crops and cultivate fish) were near and available.

So we walk. We go at a leisurely pace, singly or in small groups of like-minded people, to see the size of that river, how fast it flows, or to understand how steep and high those peaks really are. We can all sit at home and read a good book or peruse various websites to learn facts about a place or an event, but there is no substitute for seeing it for yourself. The smell of a place – that something in the air which indicates that great events have happened here.

All landscapes have witnessed history of some kind. Things have happened there, in the recent or ancient past. Go and see it for yourself. Add to that history. Learn and hear the stories…

In his poem ‘ A Prayer for my Daughter’, WB Yeats wrote about the ‘dear perpetual place’ – he wanted her to have the joy of living in and really knowing a certain place and to experience the happiness and contentment that this brings.

Get walking. For us, the journey of the mind is the best journey of all and the physical steps, the act of walking, can set off that journey. As you walk, your mind is opened up to possibilities and opportunities both new and old, and your spirit is inspired. Try it! 

Peter Allport, January 2022
Promenades Travel