Banish those Post Christmas Blues by Getting Out and About in Norfolk
Published date: January 2019
January can often be a difficult month, a mini-season of limbo, an awkward in-between time, and summer seems such a long way off. Many are feeling guilty for over-indulging during the festive season and are busy writing New Year’s resolutions that are so hard to keep.
A good way to improve mood, build stamina, burn calories and make your heart healthy is by walking. It’s simple, free and one of the easiest ways to become more active and is often overlooked as a form of exercise. A brisk daily walk has so many health benefits and in Norfolk there is an abundance of beautiful places to walk; you are spoilt for choice.
Being outdoors alone is good for you both physically and mentally, so even if you can’t manage a walk, sitting in a sheltered spot, preferably when the sun is out, should have a positive effect on you. The sun’s UV rays help your body make the nutrient Vitamin D, which is important for your bones, blood cells, and immune system and it also helps you take in and use certain minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus. Sunlight also helps boost a chemical in your brain called serotonin, and that can give you more energy and help keep you calm, positive, and focused. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other types of depression that are linked to low levels of serotonin are sometimes treated with natural or artificial light. It is proven that they can improve your general health and wellbeing, so getting outside is more important than you may have thought.
There are many walking groups in Norfolk and you will probably find your town or village has one. Here are some of the larger walking groups in Norfolk:
Norfolk Ramblers - www.ramblers.org.uk/norfolk
Norfolk Nordic Walking - www.norfolknordicwalking.co.uk
Active Norfolk - www.activenorfolk.org/walking
Soulmates Norfolk Walks www.solematesnorfolkwalks.co.uk
Hike Norfolk www.hikenorfolk.org.uk
Norfolk Hillwalking Club www.norfolkhillwalkingclub.co.uk
Walking in a group is a great way to start walking, make new friends and stay motivated and the above websites provide lots of useful information. The easiest way to walk more is to make walking a habit and to try and include walking in your daily routine. You may like to try the following:
- Walk part of your journey to work
- Leave the car at home and walk short journeys e.g. to the shops, doctors
- Use the stairs instead of the lift
- Walk the children/grandchildren to school
- Do a regular walk with a friend
- Include a walk in the countryside, beach, park etc at the weekend/day off
National Trust properties and centres are always great places to walk as they have clearly signposted walks of differing lengths. These are ideal places to visit if you are walking alone, as generally there are other people around and you are not in an isolated location on your own. You may be interested in visiting the following National Trust properties and centres in Norfolk:
Felbrigg Estate, Blickling Hall Estate, Sheringham Park, Blakeney Nature Reserve, Brancaster, Horsey Windpump and Oxburgh Hall. Go to the following website to find out more:
The RSPB have some great signposted walks in Norfolk and arrange guided walks at some of their reserves. Visit RSPB Titchwell Marsh, Strumpshaw Fen, Rockland Marshes, Burney Marshes and Breydon Water, Snettisham Reserve, Surlingham Church Marsh and Buckenham Marshes for some lovely walks. Further details can be found on their website: www.rspb.org.uk
The Norfolk Wildlife Trust has many nature reserves in the region and these make a great starting point for a walk. Often with clearly signposted routes, you can select the route most suitable for your needs and ability. Go to their website for more information: www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/home
With a vast number of towns, villages, parks, heritage trails, broad boardwalks, riverside paths, commons, woodlands, beaches, heaths and nature reserves, it is easy to find somewhere to explore in Norfolk and improve you physical and mental health in the process.