Take a walk – the perfect way to clear your mind and balance life

We chatted with Chris “Savvy” Savill, from the Hills Hikers Walking Group, and he told us of his experience of walking and how it helped him to think things through and clear his mind during hard times, which is timely given that this week is Mental Health Week.

He shared this video and writes:

Sitting comfortably there? Are you snug in your home? Look out the window. Out there you will see one of the most diverse landscapes in the world, and it’s right on your doorstep. I don’t know about you, but just the thought of that alone excites me, and fills me with the urge to get out there to explore. There are many ways to navigate the amazing landscape of South Australia and beyond, but the best way by far is on foot. When walking or hiking, one is in constant contact with their surroundings, which stimulates every single one of the senses.

There are many benefits to walking. Of course, everyone knows that it’s good for you physically as it keeps you fit and gets your heart pumping, but walking is also very good for your mental health as well. Many entrepreneurs and successful business people such as Sir Richard Branson go walking when they need to make important decisions. Sir Richard often skips having business meetings in a boardroom like most people, and instead opts for a “walking meeting” – as walking helps stimulate the brain which in turn leads to a clearer thought process.

Walking is amazing for your mental wellbeing. If you have depression or are going through a rough spot in your life, try spending some time outside and taking a walk, surrounding yourself with nature. This helps to get away from the distractions of everyday things and to clear your mind. Walking soothes the soul, and is very therapeutic.

I recently myself went though some hard times, and walking was my “go to” thing. It helped me think things through and it really cleared my head of all the problems that were fogging my mind. I literally walked my way out of depression.

I also use walking to “unwind” from my busy lifestyle. I work in mainstream media as part of a TV crew, which can be a high pressure job at times, and extremely stressful, so just getting outside and going for a walk – if its just a couple of kilometres, or a long day hike- is a great way for me to relax.

I mentioned before how diverse the Australian landscape can be, and what I love about hiking in South Australia is how easy it is to experience this diversity in one’s local area. You can experience walking through the serenity of Kuipto Forest and surround yourself with the towering trees, or you can visit the rugged bushland of Morialta Conservation Park and clamber over the rocks. Alternatively, you can head a little further north and experience the untouched landscape of the outback that’s just begging to be explored. There’s an added bonus to walking as well, which is that you get to see and experience an array of different wildlife that also calls South Australia home. A lot of people take the wildlife for granted, but take a moment to ponder that… most of the animals here are unique to Australia – it’s the only place you can see them in the world. Experience them with your eyes though, not your hands.

Walking has totally improved me as a person in many ways. I am naturally the “outdoors type” and have been trained in survival, navigation, first aid and have an expedition qualification thanks to my ex-military days. Walking and hiking has kept my skills up to scratch, and over the years with thanks to technological advancements, it easy to use technology to also enhance your outdoor experience by following guided walks on your smart device, and using it as a navigational tool, and power these devices by using small portable solar panels when they need a recharge. However, it’s easy to forget that we shouldn’t be 100% reliant on that smart device as there may be poor signal reception, or none at all down that beaten track. Pack the old school map as well.

I have made many friends from walking, as it’s a great way to socialise. I had more and more people ask to come along for walks with me, which led me to creating my own walking group that I have lovingly called “the Hills Hikers” (You can find us on Facebook).

Walking is even better when you can share the experience with friends! So grab your walking buddy and hit those trails. Use Walking SA’s WalktoberSA as a launching pad to experience the exciting. See you out on the trails. Maybe our paths will cross, who knows… but if they do, I will give you a high five as we pass!

Chris “Savvy” Savill
Hills Hikers Walking Group | Savill Sound

Throughout October we’re celebrating walking with WalktoberSA. Looking for somewhere to walk or hike? Check out our lists of best walks and hikes.