Walk on, Walk on, With Hope in Your Heart

Do you have colleagues that religiously take up to an hour out of their day to have a brisk stroll at lunch time?  Are these colleagues incessant on telling you their step goals and provide a daily update on how they well they are doing against their goals?  Do you often wonder what all the fuss is about? Well maybe it is time to walk on.

I, like many, lead a very sedentary lifestyle and have slipped into a range of excuses in order to negate achieving a paltry 10,000 steps per day (equivalent of around 5 miles per day).  My latest readings on steps for this month – an average of 6,153 steps, my best day has been 9,490, and my worst 3,015 steps – pathetic.

Taking a Walk

One day a few weeks ago I dropped my car off for a service on the outskirts of Chester. I decided to renege on the offer of unlimited coffee, free wi-fi and a change of work environment, that the dealership provided and venture out into the wild unknown.   I also made a commitment to not join the growing community that seem to think it’s a good thing to do to walk and be immersed in your phone screen at the same time (please see my previous blog on that!).

However, I did go armed with my mobile, (purely for emergency navigation and note taking I hasten to add) and set off in a random direction.  It is amazing some of the things you see when you really focus on observing.  Before long I was walking alongside the river Dee, past a collection of relatively new riverside apartments sitting amongst a mix of small space industrial units.  I noticed a cluster of empty ground floor ‘restaurant’ units, most likely vacant since construction, that would never survive in such a relatively low footfall area (highlighting the difference between planning utopia and commercial reality?).  My walk took me to Chester race course where I passed an old man on a bench reading his newspaper, young mothers with strollers ensuring their babies get a decent mid-morning nap, a returning fisherman looking rather pleased with his catch of the day.   It felt so great to remove myself from my inbox, breathe non conditioned air, and watch the world go by.

The Return Journey

I  walked back down City Walls Road, with the Queens School on my right and their playing fields/tennis courts on my left, where the regular ‘pop’ of a well struck tennis ball broke the familiar background hum of motor vehicles.  I noticed the empty running track and imagined school sports day with hundreds of kids competing for their respective house.

After that I navigated my way to the Chester canal basin, noted the origin of some of the canal barges, and meandered my way across one of the locks to the road before deciding it was now time to head back to the car dealership.  I cut through a pleasant residential road (Gladstone Avenue) that seems to be a mix of native residents and student accommodation – which was the inspiration behind my first guessing game of the walk – student or native.  It was an easy game really, the state of their limited front garden, the view inside their lounge window (if the curtains weren’t mildewed shut!), the state of the bins.  I learnt that in Chester  there are specific operators of Premium student accommodation and they, choose to label their accommodation accordingly with a fancy Perspex plaque!  I also noted that even though this road is on the outskirts of Chester parking is completely unrestricted (for now!).

Stimulate your Senses

My learnings from today are to try and make an effort to walk somewhere every day – even if it is without a specific purpose.  Switch off your mobile phone and observe as you walk – regardless of where you walk (in the city, suburbs or countryside) there are always things that will make you smile and re-engage yourself with humanity.  Stimulate your senses and distract your mind from the multitude of other things that typically fill your head.

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