Connection through exercise in nature

Nick AdlingtonBlog

Walking this weekend in Dorset, I was brought to mind the push and pull of life. The significant physical effort of striding out across 36 miles of hills and vales, set against a sense of release as I looked out across miles and miles of wide open countryside, coated by sunshine and wind. My body and mind are drained today, but what’s the phrase… ”you have to speculate to accumulate”. The Gestalt concept of “field conditions” also comes to mind. The field being everything else in and out of our awareness that impacts on our experience. For example the weather, the steep hills, the goal of the final destination, people we meet, the bed and breakfast where we stay, the signposting on the path, the clothing I have brought. All these things and a thousand more come together and surround my experience of the weekend. How I/one relates to these aspects in our environment, how far I may focus on one above another, influence my experience. In rushing to get the 6pm train home I took my mind off stretching and physically relaxing at the end of the walk, hence perhaps feeling so stiff today. Yet I was also able to get home and watch the end of the European Championship Final and have some extra time at home before going to bed. Weights and balances, the choices we make that every moment of everyday direct our focus and subsequently our experience. I have been walking with my friend now for maybe 5 years. We completed Offa’s Dyke Path first off. For the past couple of years we have been focussing on the Greater Ridgeway, which runs from the north Norfolk coast at Hunstanton to Lyme Regis in Dorset. When I started out I genuinely wasn’t a big fan of walking. The challenge of completing Offa’s Dyke helped me get underway, and somewhere along the way I’ve come to instinctively know that walking is good for me: the camaraderie of walking in friendship, seeing different parts of the UK, the physical effort. Yet, this understanding still feels instinctual, perhaps drawn from thousands of years of evolution. It’s something like, trusting the known and unknown history and experience of me and my forebearers. Can we always know something, before we do something? Life’s not about gambling, but it does involve stepping out into new pastures, which in turns brings new experience. And this new experience is perhaps the thing that keeps us healthy, cleans and filters our water, whatever the results of the experience, including feeling stiff and a little weary!