In Summer 2018 I decided to go on a walking holiday. I had recently turned 50 and a recent visit to the doctor had revealed I had high cholesterol. I had heard much about the health benefits of a good walk and so a walking holiday in the mountains was to replace my usual beer and beach extravaganza. My goodness, my eyes were opened wide to a new joy. Ok, I probably chose the most beautiful place on earth for this holiday, the Italian Dolomites. That was a sheer coincidence. I stumbled across a walking holiday website and I was lulled into it by the photos. Anyway, it was the start of a process that has made a huge difference to my well-being and outlook on life. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that walking is a good way to lose weight and lower blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and strokes. But did you know (1) that the extra oxygen and glucose it takes to the brain can make you more intelligent and sharp-minded? (2) that it helps control blood sugar levels and might therefore protect you from diabetes? (3) that it maintains your bone density and therefore staves off arthritis and osteoperosis? … and (4) it can significantly improve digestion and give you a much happier gut. Not bad credentials, eh?
If I’m honest, whilst I am delighted to know about all the above, as a convert to walking (I am already booked to go walking in the Pyrenees next summer) I want to simply say how good I feel every time I go for a walk, whether it’s in the mountains or round the local park. That in itself is the greatest benefit I have experienced since my walking holiday with Collett’s in Italy’s fantastic Dolomites. I am now happy and I think positively. My glass is half-full and I crave my weekends with other walkers discovering the beauty of the UK. Thanks to Jon Milligan, a Collett’s guest from September 2018, for his letter.