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Walking in Cumbria and Beyond

Outdoor Gym

Outdoor Gym

 

I recently heard a radio article purporting the benefits of walking outside as opposed to pounding the treadmill in a gym. Better both for body and mind.

How could your spirits fail to be lifted looking up the clear blue sky with the grey and green pallets of tree and rock silhouetted against it. So sometimes it may be a little grey, or maybe there is tower block in front of you, but surely that is better than a bland wall or even worse the inane actions of piped in music videos. I certainly prefer the wanderings of herdwick sheep. Far more restful on the eye.

Farm

Then there is variety. You can tilt your treadmill, you could speed it up, not that much interest or change in muscle groups. Ok, so you can’t change the mountain, but just change direction. Walking along a contour you are tilted sideways. Good for your balance! The surface may be a peat sprung baize, rock or even water. Necessitating a change of pace and technique. Even arms will come into play. On a mid summers day when the bracken is high and the track is indistinct it can be more like wading through water than walking.

AnneinBraken

Turn up to the summit and the change in tilt will probably be more acute than your ‘gym instructor’ would ever recommend, but there is an instant off button with an instant change of scene. Just stop and turn around.

crinkles

Press the restart to the summit and be rewarded by a different 360 panorama. One where life in the valley is obliterated as the view is replaced by the next mountain ridge. For as long or as short, as your legs allow, you can pretty much leave the tilt on horizontal and enjoy the relative ease of walking among peat, changing faces of volcanic rocks and cotton grass. Take time to reflect and soak up the vitamin D. Far better than fluorescent glare.

No need either to block out the noise of machines with iTunes. Sheep song can be quite musical, but better are the skylarks, who fail to be intimidating even when trying to distract intruders from their patch.

Natural refreshment. Pure clear unchlorinated water. Nothing added, not filtered through machines, impregnated by chemicals or stored in plastic bottles. Priced about £0 a bottle. Free foot spar too, though the fish weren’t interested.

Can the treadmill tilt downhill? I don’t know. Descend acutely or more obtusely, quickly or slowly. Differing elevations revealing different things and throwing new perspectives as you step over the edge. Challenge your balance and your brain as you pick the best way down.

Finally, there is cake. Far better than energy drink.

This outdoor gym session began in the Langdale valley, NY292065 followed this route, described in this  Cicerone book.

Water courtesy of the clouds and cake from the National Trust pub at the end of the trail.

Buy other things here, and click the OS advert for a map.  More pictures here.

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5 Comments

  1. I’ve always referred to it as ‘Gods Gym’. It also carries free membership. The Langdale valley is a belting walk for anyone and can suit any level of fitness. A good read, thank you.

    • Good point Ray! Thank you. As you say, so many walks from the Langdales.

  2. Very good. Made me chuckle x

  3. I love your photos. I really like walking outside. Thanks for posting this.

    • Thank you Cathy – had a quick look at your blog. Bit out of the mummy zone now as my son is 22 and off to New York to study for his Masters in Film later this month.

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