The Wonders of Walking and Water
Whether you are walking by the sea, lake or river, out in the rain or drinking it, water can do wonders for your health and wellbeing
The benefits of coastal walking have been research by Exeter University. Their Blue Space Project reports that the closer people live to the sea report the better it is for their health. Three main reasons are:
- people relax more by the sea which lowers blood pressure
- people living by the sea take more physical activity strolling along the beach and coast paths all year round.
- people living by the sea have more positive social interactions to boost brain health.
Walking on Sand
Walking on sand enables you to burn 2.7.times more energy than walking on a solid flat path, as your body requires more efoort to lift your feet out of the loose surface. This means while your usual 30 minute walk burns approximately 170 calories, a half hour walk on the beach can burn around 400 calories.
Boost Your Immunity
The air besides a body of water is filled with health boosting negative ions. These are formed when water particles crash together and cause oxygen atoms to gain an extra electron. It’s said that when the air has anything above 50,000 negative ions per cubic metre, its so pure that germs can’t survive. This purer air quality is not only better for your lungs but stimulates disease resisting cells in your immune system.
Calm Your Mind
If you are feeling overworked or have a lot on your mind, taking time to take a wander amid the sounds of the crashing waves, the gush of a waterfall or even the trickle of a stream could be just what you need. Scientists found that when listening to the sound of water the same neurons in the brain light upas when they engage in deep meditation. When you atain a relaxed state like this, you produce less of the stress hormone cortisol and your blood pressure gradually decreases.
Embrace the Rain
When you live in Ireland rain is part and parcel of life! Next time you hear the pitter-patter of raindrops, resist the urge to hole up indoors. Don your wellies, grab a brolly and head out for a rain walk. Maintain a positive outlook.
- Be present in your surroundings- the world becomes a different place when shrouded by rainfall, diffused in a unique light, with everything changing shape, colour and sound. A little shake up of how you see things is sometimes all you need to make positive progress.
- Breathe in cleaner air because when it rains the droplets attract ten of thousands or air pollution particles such as traffic pollution. This process does a remarkable job of cleaning the air around you, making it better to breathe in.
- Feel the rain droplets on your skin and listen to it’s meditative sound. Enjoy the rain.
- Return to your childhood and jump in a puddle – you know you want to!
Drinking and walking should go together. Your body will lose water when you walk and you can end up dehydrated. But it is also important that you don’t drink more than your body needs.
Here are guidelines on what and when to drink during your walk:
- Electrolytes: When your walk is going to be longer than two hours, a sports drink or salty foods such as pretzels can help with water absorption in the body as well as replacement of salt, plus provide carbohydrates for energy.
- Flavor: Make your water taste good so you will want to drink more. You can add a squirt of lemon or fruit squash.
- High altitude and weather conditions: You lose even more fluids at high altitudes, in hot conditions, and when the humidity is low, and you may need to drink more than usual. Again, let thirst be your guide, and drink as soon as you feel thirsty.
- Sweating: You are likely to get thirsty more frequently when you are sweating, so be prepared to have more access to fluids when you know you will be sweating.
- Thirst: Make it a habit to do a mental “thirst-check” every 15 minutes or so. If you are thirsty, consume enough water to make you feel comfortable. You are already becoming dehydrated when you feel thirsty so try and drink before you get to this point.
- Water: For walks of two hours or less, plain or flavored water is the best drink.
Protect the environment use a reusable bottle