03 April 2020 by Dr Nick Summerton
Dr Nick Summerton is a GP in Yorkshire, public health physician and a Ramblers member. He is Walk magazine’s medical expert, and is making the most of walking daily close to home.
Coronavirus will pass. In time we will be able to get out walking again and catch up with our old friends. What can we do in the meantime?
In order to slow the spread of the virus, our movements have been greatly restricted. But, although we have been instructed to undertake only essential travel, we are still encouraged to exercise every day either alone or with one other member of our household. We are all asked not to drive anywhere to start a walk but, rather, to stay local and set off from home.
Keeping fit helps fight coronavirus
Everyone knows that walking improves both our mental and our physical wellbeing. For those of us who might – unfortunately – get coronavirus it is now clear that if we keep ourselves fit this will help us to fight the illness better.
Since Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘lockdown’ announcement, I have managed to get out walking every day. I have passed horse riders, cyclists, runners, mothers with prams and dog walkers. We all gave each other wide berths – at least two metres – and, if necessary, crossed the road to pass. Few words were exchanged but everyone I met smiled or waved.
Spring is my favourite time of year and, as I walk, I am trying to discipline myself to look around more and to listen rather than talk. Those of us who live in urban areas can use the opportunity to rediscover our – often unappreciated – parks.
Take in your surroundings
Also, we all need to learn to look up more. By far the most interesting parts of buildings in the centres of towns or cities are towards the top, unaffected by modern developments. The skyline of Whitefriargate in Hull holds as much beauty for me as do the wooded dales of East Yorkshire.
Those of you with skills in photography or videoing could even think about recording elements of your route to share with others via social media. Share with the Ramblers using #roamsweethome.
At this time, it is worth thinking about those people who can never get out to enjoy a walk – for example those in care homes, the very frail and the disabled. Also, for people living with dementia we know the positive health benefits they gain from being reminded about the sights or sounds of a something that was once very familiar to them.
One positive legacy of the coronavirus outbreak could be the sense of community that is being created, connecting people together from afar. The Ramblers #roamsweethome campaign is all about keeping us sharing with each other and getting through this together, one step at a time.
Find out more about how to get involved with our #RoamSweetHome campaign.
Our Coronavirus update page gives the latest official advice on walking safely.