#walk1000miles for happiness

'Helped my depression and I lost weight' says Shaun Garrett, 49; 'I feel so much happier – I'm a completely different person' says Julia Martin; 'Really helped me stay motivated to get out there and see so much of our beautiful countryside, and massively helped to keep my anxiety and depression under control" says Mark Taylor, 33. The experience of challengers confirms the science: regular walking boosts confidence, creativity, mood and is at least as effective as medicine at treating mild to moderate depression. Bust out your boots and find your happy....

Peace of mind, positivity, better perspective – and most of all just massively enjoyable. Walking 1000 miles isn’t just about the physical benefits, it will also do wonders for your mental wellbeing. Walking has been proven to lift your mood, boost self-esteem and improve sleep quality. It’s a well-known fatigue buster, while also reducing stress hormones and levels of anxiety. The charity Healthy Minds says physically active people have a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed, and that staying active while suffering from mental illness can help you recover more quickly. The benefits for older walkers are even greater, with walking known to improve cognitive function, memory, attention levels and reduce the risk of dementia. In October 2018, doctors in Scotland’s Shetland Islands started prescribing walking to patients. As part of the ‘Nature Prescriptions’ project,10 surgeries across the Shetlands archipelago are now authorised to treat illnesses including stress with rambles, beach walks and birdwatching trips around the islands. As well as the obvious physical benefits of regular exercise, NHS Scotland believes that getting out into nature and connecting with local surroundings will lead to improved mental health. This new thinking was backed up by a 2018 study from Urban Mind, which found that a single exposure to nature can lift your mood for up to seven hours. So basically, a morning dog walk or stroll to work will keep you feeling happy all day! Over the past few years, Country Walking has been inundated with wonderful stories from #walk1000milers who’ve trounced bad moods, grown in confidence, stopped worrying about the little things in life, and become happier and more determined. They’ve told us the challenge has kept them motivated, helped combat depression, given them courage to try new things, boosted positivity and provided a massive feeling of achievement. Walking is also an excellent way to meet new people and can be great for your social life. If you’re looking for people to share your challenge with, search for locally organised health walks, contact your local Ramblers group, or join our Facebook group and start chatting to like-minded people. Most importantly, just go for a walk and enjoy yourself. Forget about work, money and all the other stresses of modern life. Just put one foot in front of the other for an hour a day, listen to the birds, marvel at your local landscape, watch the sun set, and have a bloody great time!

‘I feel happy, proud, energetic and loving being outdoors – I feel I have got a life!’
— Doug Stewart

Last year’s participants said…

Did doing the challenge help with depression and self-image?

#Walk1000miles: demon-slayer

#Walk1000miles + wellbeing