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Walking in London: leave your stresses behind

Samuel Johnson once affectionately claimed that “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

Well, maybe he is right. London does have all the best things in life to offer: fine restaurants, cosy pubs, art galleries, culturally inspirational west-end theatres and all the wonderful nightlife. Honestly, what more could we ask for?

But, deep down, there are few people who have not had a ‘get-me-out-of-here’ moment. When you are trapped with millions of people pushing and shoving at Oxford Street in the busy hours; when you spend half an hour waiting for a delayed train; when you are trying to read but the nearby construction site bombasts your ears with sharp noises, don’t you feel the need for a break from the metropolitan life London has to offer?

Sure, we all do. But getting away does not necessarily mean you need to escape London. One of the great things about this amazing city is that it has a built-in stress relief system.

Walking/Hiking in London

When the weather is less ghastly and the sun shines across the blue sky, the nature-loving parts of Londoners come back to life.  They take their families, friends and favourite pets out for a little walk in nature.

“I walk roughly 10 miles a week. Walking is a way of relaxing and clearing your mind. At the same time, you get to lose some weight,” says regular walker Natasha. “Scientific studies have shown that if you keep walking 20 minutes every day, in a year’s time you will burn off 7lb of body fat.”

Natasha is not the only one who finds walking a good past-time. In London alone, there are dozens of walking clubs and walking groups which organise ways in which people can spend time surrounded by nature.

London has many famous walk paths: the capital ring, the Jubilee walkway and the Thames path. But, you never need to worry about making the right choices.

Whatever route you choose, you are guaranteed to meet beautiful wild flowers, ancient woods, lovely wildlife and many other smiling people.

The right path

Put on your windbreaker and your comfy shoes and have a little stroll. Walking is a feast for the eyes, the ears, the nose and most importantly, the heart.

Once you start walking, you leave behind all the anxiety stemmed from your busy metropolitan life. The greenness of the woods and meadows calm your work-exhausted eyes; the buoyant bird sounds heal your noise-tortured ears; the grassy and earthy smell cleans up your toxic-air-filled lungs; the tranquillity of the lidos and streams run through your pressure-worn heart.

Take a deep breath, focus on your path and let go. When you are walking, everything you see, smell and feel are fresh and pleasant.

Words and images by Luna Lin
Visit Hampstead Heath, London NW3. Nearest station: Hampstead Heath (London Overground)
Visit Canons Park, London, HA8. Nearest tube station: Canons Park (Jubilee line)
Find out more about walking in London: www.walk4life.info

More articles by the author:

An artist's impression of London

The voice of Londoners

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