Daft question maybe, but there are many different reasons why people are motivated to go out, either for a half hour walk in the park or a full days yomp round the fells and valleys of our superb countryside.
Over the years I have met many many walkers/climbers on a huge variety of walks – whether short walks around lakes, longer ones over the fells or around the local beck with the dogs – and normally the conversation goes something like; “Hi beautiful/awful day” with a response along the lines of “What could be better/better than being inside”. Mundane and pointless stuff but actually a sure sign that most people out on a walk are in a happier, more positive frame of mind (or at least feel they should be) than if they are stuck indoors. Folk are undoubtedly happier when they are out and about; fresh air combined with exercise gets the blood flowing and is healthy – sadly a recent health report I read stated that less than 5% of people exercised/walked for more than half an hour a day. Actually I was surprised it was as much as this. Walking is a minority experience.
As is somewhat typical in society today people tend to look for excuses not to do something rather than a reason to do it – going for a walk (the simplest form of exercise) involves an effort, it may involve getting in the car/taking the bus, it certainly will mean putting on some appropriate clothes and footwear and it does take time (and of course none of us have any time!). When faced with the decision the silent majority just do not believe that it is worth the effort and it is so much easier to find something else to do, particularly if it is raining.
This came to mind the other day whilst I was leading a group in horrific weather, driving rain and high winds hastening the visit to the pub. However one of the chaps announced that he loved it like this – he loved the challenge of bad weather and often became bored just walking on a ‘nice’ day. He thrived on challenging himself and getting that adrenalin buzz from pushing himself. Accepted, enjoying bad weather is unusual but the principal behind what he was saying was that his motivation for being out was about the ‘buzz’ and excitement of the walk rather than the intrinsic beauty of the scene. It had me thinking about what motivates me to get out and walk/climb. Four reasons sprung immediately to mind:
So why do more people not get out and walk, either on a daily basis, or if that is impractical at weekends and for holidays. If asked people tend to come up with a number of reasons that can be narrowed down to just a few; “nothing nearby”, “too boring”, “not sure where to go/will get lost”, “no time”. In reality all of these come down to one thing – there is not an effective enough pull for those people to go on a walk.
As John Craven would say “there are always answers but they may not be straightforward” . Try these for size:
There is a financial cost to the above but, of course, the financial payback is a healthier population and lower NHS bills. Cameron talks a lot about building a better society for the future; well here is a splendid way to achieve it.
With money tight, health on the decline and indoor sports taking over visiting our great outdoors surely is a no brainer.
For an American (thereby alternative!) view click here
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Extending the National Parks. Views and news on the decision to extend the national parks of the Lakes & Dales
Using a map to navigate. Why using a map and compass adds so much to a good walk.
Walks for the family. How to educate your children to enjoy the great outdoors.
Away from the Crowds. Some tips and suggestions on where to still find peace and solitude when many walks are crowded out.
My favourite villages in the Dales. The villages in the Yorkshire Dales which are extra special.
Delighting in photos. Why it is so easy to enjoy photography these days.
More than just a walking heaven. Different reasons why people take to the fells and dales.
Watch out for the little blighters. Sheep ticks continue to be a growing menace.
Map Reading Skills on the decline. Impact of new technology on traditional navigation.
Hidden Yorkshire Dales. The joys of walking in my favourite lesser known dales.
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