Blog by Tracy Tsang, Internal Communications Manager, IQ-EQ
I love living in the city and I'm fortunate enough to have lots of parks on my doorstep. The countryside, mountains and beaches are also only a few miles away from home.
Breathing fresh air can help regulate your levels of serotonin and promote happiness and well-being. In Japan they practice Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing) and Friluftsliv is the Nordic concept of getting outdoors.
The recommended distance we should be walking each day is 10,000 steps (approx. five miles). In my last workplace we did a company wide challenge to walk 10,000 steps a day for a month. We had the luxury of the Botanic Gardens on our doorstep so we would organise weekly walks in the gardens.
Walking 10,000 steps most days of the week has a wide range of physical and mental health benefits:
- Burns body fat and strengthens muscles
- Increases energy and reduces fatigue
- Strengthens the heart and increases circulation
- Reduces stiffness in joints and improves posture and flexibility
- Improves mental alertness, memory, creativity and problem solving
- Elevates mood and helps relieve stress
- Helps relieve insomnia
Currently I’m taking part in the IQ-EQ global step challenge to the moon. I’m amazed I’ve walked 290 miles - that equates to walking from Belfast to Aberdeen!
For the last few years, I’ve been part of two hiking groups. At the weekends and especially in the warmer months, I enjoy hiking for 5-7 miles once a week. We have beautiful scenery all around us and I miss it so much!
With lockdown I’ve had to be more inventive with my walks. I walk in my neighbourhood - local parks Ormeau to Botanic Gardens, river walk to the Waterfront and Titanic Quarter.
My top three walks are further outside of Belfast
1) Dundrum, Murlough beach to Newcastle with the Mourne Mountains in sight
2) My favourite beach walk is White Rocks Beach on the north coast
3) Cuilcagh Boardwalk in Fermanagh called the stairway to Heaven
If you are looking for walks in Northern Ireland this is a good web site https://walkni.com
When the pandemic lifts and we can travel safely I hope to go on some walking tours in Scotland and Austria.