Being under the sky stirs your primitive self, the one that yells and capers and understands what’s important and what isn’t

I cannot pretend to have rigidly followed the WalkActive techniques I wrote about in January (you remember: foot like Velcro, lift from your hips, hold your neck as if you have diamond drop earrings that you unaccountably want the world to see) but I will – thanks to a combination of my Fitbit and the fact that I don’t really want to run – now readily walk from one place to another. Dr Andrew Murray, sports medicine consultant at Edinburgh university, spends his life measuring the health benefits of walking, and says that if you go from being a couch potato to a regular walker, you can put seven years on your life. You’re more likely to see the big picture and less likely to get bogged down in details.

I always walked the dog; I sometimes walked over the river for the romance; but the most efficient way to walk a lot is to merge it with some other task, which is how the walk-meeting was invented. I’ve had one walk-meeting before, but only about sustainability. It’s hard to walk next to a hippy: if you go too slow, they think you’d rather be sitting down; if you go too fast, you’re in league with The Man.

I am very whiny and hairless – I could write a column just on the sparsity of my eyebrows – so I feel the cold like a whippet and that is usually all I talk about. Then I got sent a Blaze Wear jacket, an absurd spendy item (£250) with a battery pack that heats your side-ribs to cooking temperature, so for a long time all I could talk about was how weird it was to have your face in February and your trunk in the Bahamas.

The first meeting was supposed to be about citizenship; I guess I saw the big picture, but it’s hard to say what getting lost in the detail would have looked like when you’re talking about how to feel empowered by your body politic. The next was about an art project based on trees; I had a lot of good ideas, possibly due to my proximity to actual trees, but they all turned out to be pretty ambitious. A third was about the crisis in the aid sector, and the last about Brexit, and both ended in me ranting, operatically, about Boris Johnson. Bigger picture, sure: but what the outdoors really enabled was a much louder picture.

Being under the sky stirs your primitive self, the one that yells and capers and understands what’s important and what isn’t. It is not possible, incidentally, to concentrate on your walking technique while you’re having a meeting, but something’s got to give. For some reason it accelerates intimacy. You feel a little closer to someone after a walk than after an espresso; but I couldn’t vouch for the productivity of that, since you often veer off into personal natter.

Categorically, I ended the day with more energy, which, considering how much of it I spent shouting, is almost metaphysical.

Source : The Guardian