The Fountain of Youth, aka The Hiking Group
I recently read an article on why walking is the best mid-life exercise.
It turns out that brisk walking can lengthen your telomeres, which means you don’t age as fast. The Fountain of Youth has been found! It’s over here, just past the footpath sign.
The article goes on to examine other studies related to walking and health. One study found that for people under age 60, a daily total of 8,000 – 10,000 steps was optimal, reducing early death in the participants. Another study found that walking just 20 minutes a day is enough to protect against Alzheimer’s Disease.
And walking uphill is even better—it does amazing things for your glutes, and burns off almost twice as many calories as walking on flat ground.
But for all the health benefits, there’s one advantage that no study has looked at: What does gazing at the lovely Chilterns, right here in our own backyard, so to speak, do to your mood?
I can tell you, gazing from the top of a Chiltern at the surrounding countryside does wonders for my mental health. Walking down a wooded footpath, strewn with wildflowers, recharges my batteries. Traipsing over a fallow field, as I peer ahead for another green footpath sign, triggers my brain cells to multiply.
That’s why I walk with the hiking group. The years off my accumulating age are only a side benefit. My birthday is next month, and it’s a big one (but who’s counting?). I’ll be hiking that day, searching for the first bluebells of spring, dodging mud puddles, and adding thousands of steps to those already trod in the Chilterns.
Hiking is led by Kathy Flake
Kathy Flake has lived in the Chilterns, off and on, since 2004, and leads the CAWC Hiking Group. She’s the author of several novels and claims her best ideas come to her while she’s out walking in the Chiltern hills.