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Why Walking Holidays Are Great For Your Health

Boost Your Mood with Walking on Your Holidays

The health benefits of walking have long been known and it is, simply, the best form of exercise we can take. Of course, walking won’t build huge muscles, nor will it give you great cardiovascular stamina. It isn’t necessarily the best way to go fit – though it certainly helps – but in terms of health it is, literally, a lifesaver.

Health benefits of walking

Walking has been shown by many research studies over the years to significantly reduce the risk of a number of chronic illnesses, including some cancers, strokes, heart disease, type two diabetes and asthma. However, what makes it so good is that it’s an activity that almost anyone can do, the risk of injury is incredibly low (unlike other higher-intensity pursuits) and it also has clear and proven benefits to mental health and wellbeing too.

Walking on beach pier
A walking holiday gives you a chance to experience more on your holiday, enjoy your sights and maintain your fitness.

Research by Professor Robert Thayer, based at California State University, shows that walking improves mood, energy levels and can help a person’s self-esteem. It can help with depression and has a very positive all-round impact on mental health. This, in itself, is great and should be more than enough to convince anyone to ditch the TV and get out into the fresh air. However, habits can be hard to break and finding time for new activities in people’s already-hectic schedules can be nigh on impossible.

Go on walking holidays

For many people a holiday is about a week or two doing nothing more than relaxing and quite possibly eating and drinking too much of the wrong things. That can be enjoyable once in a while and fun at the time but all too often it can leave one lethargic, tired through disrupted sleep and, frankly, in need of another holiday!

So, rather than sticking to your usual routine, why not try something new? It needn’t be seven endless days of slogging up mountains in the rain, nor is it necessary to sacrifice the quality of food or accommodation. With many great walks visiting vineyards there is certainly no need to abstain from alcohol. Combine the benefits of walking with visiting great vineyards and enjoying a good drop.

This makes a walking holiday a great choice and it’s really easy to find walking holidays online and whether you are a total beginner or an experienced hiker there is an option that will suit your preferences.

Hiking in the mountains
A great way to either kick-start your health regime, or maintain your fitness on your holiday is to go hiking and trekking.

Go hiking or trekking

A holiday that revolves around hiking or trekking could be a fine way to kick-start a new healthy regime of walking when you get back home or it could be a chance to get a little fitter and feel a little happier for a couple of weeks. When you return from your walking holiday feeling refreshed and reinvigorated there is every chance you’ll adopt a new walking lifestyle, or at least get off the bus a stop or two early and stretch your legs a little more often.

Even more positive news is that the aforementioned research shows that in order to obtain the maximum psychological benefit from walking it is best to do it in a natural outdoor environment and ideally at a relatively slow pace. This all makes good sense of course, with a gentle stroll through a sun-dappled forest with birds singing is clearly going to reduce stress more effectively than walking at full steam on a treadmill in a hot, crowded gym like some overgrown rat trapped on a perpetual wheel.

Walking holidays in Europe

This is yet another reason why a walking holiday is so good. So the toughest part may well be deciding where to go. Europe is packed full of fabulous walking options. In France you can combine wine, food, fabulous scenery and sites of great historical interest in a number of regions including Burgundy, Provence, Chablis and Brittany. Italy offers a similar feast of walking, with Tuscany a popular option for its stupendous cuisine, glorious vistas over hills of grapes and the accessibility of Florence, Pisa and Siena. Spain has similar possibilities, whilst Croatia, Portugal and Turkey remain relatively undiscovered wonders.

The world is your oyster, so go and walk it today and reap the benefits of walking tomorrow with a longer, healthier, happier life. And you’ll get a fantastic holiday out of it too.

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