By Jo Cordell-Cooper*
IT’S no secret that I am a big fan of bush walking.
The health benefits start with the physical and the free and easy delight of walking along the flat, up and down hills and over mixed terrain.
This is great for the heart and strengthening the joints, particularly around ankles, hips and knees.
This is fabulous exercise for the body, made even better by carrying a light weight on your back. I never feel better than after I have hiked.
But there are other benefits to hiking than just the physical. Emersion in the bush has a quietening effect on the body and the mind.
It’s a quiet place and if you can sit still and listen to the sounds around you, it is a wonderful application of mindfulness.
Quite simply, to sit still and listen, to focus on your breathing is so darn good for you that if I could turn that process into a pill, I’d be rich.
But instead, I encourage you to go hiking (which for the most part is free) and whether it be some place remote or much more urban, you will still feel the benefits.
For example, I recently was walking on our Queens Domain – this is a place I rarely walk around.
It was one of those clear blue Hobart days and I looked up at our stunning Mount Wellington and found it quite breathtaking.
I can’t say how many times I’ve looked at that mountain, but it still impresses me as one of the most beautiful and majestic mountains I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a few).
Just taking the time to be impressed by an every day scene makes me happy to live here.
If we can take joy in such a simple thing and take the time to appreciate such beauty, this in turn helps form a more positive mindset.
Another key benefit from hiking is its ability to connect you to the people around you.
Bush walking types are friendly folk and I can honestly say I have never felt threatened when meeting new people in the bush.
It’s a great time to connect with your own friends and family too and it need not be a challenging walk.
There is little to distract you when you are bush walking, so the best conversations happen during hikes.
We problem solve, share stories and experiences, parenting dilemmas and have discussions about all of life’s decisions.
If you are interested in an absolute gem of a walk head down to Waterfall Bay on the Tasman Peninsula with your family and friends (it’s National Park, so you’ll need your Parks pass).
There’s a very short walk to the waterfalls (30-minutes or so) and it’s absolutely delightful to explore this area and stop for a picnic.
Try it. You won’t be disappointed.
*Jo Cordell-Cooper is the owner of the award winning business Active Solutions and Health Network.
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