Moving outdoors (preferably in nature) clears your mind and reawakens your body to new muscular patterns of movement. To stay young in body and mind, you need to consistently get out of your comfort zone, get outside, and keep moving!
Recently, and in the absence of a ticket to Electric Picnic, my husband and I marked our 10th anniversary ‘Kennenlearnen Tag’ with a 3 hour hike in beautiful Glendalough, Co. Wicklow.
Glendalough is well worth the visit. Founded by St. Kevin in 6AD, it features a monastic city, a round tower standing some 30m tall, and Kevin’s Bed, a cavity int he cliff beyond the settlement. The trees and lake surrounding the monastic site emit a pure, spiritual energy, evoking centuries of human meditation and prayer.
There are hiking trails to suit all levels. We followed the White Trail, a 3 hour hike covering 12k in total when you include the walk from the car-park to the start of the trail. When you’re training for a marathon it all counts right?!
Surrounded by nature, I noticed 20 minutes into the hike that my right shoulder, which had been nagging at me for months now and was ‘frozen’, felt completely free. My husband noted that his knee (operated on last year) felt strong. We passed by sheep and deer as we made our way through the miners village to the foot of the hill. It felt great to be out and able to climb all the way up the side of the waterfall running down from the top of the hill. Higher up, the mountains glowed bright purple with heather in bloom.
Crossing over the stream at the top, we continued along the board walk that runs all the way along the summit, back down towards the woods above the visitor centre. We enjoyed the views down into the valley below, overlooking first the Miner’s Village and lakes beyond. It was a bright sunny day, with trees and tourists alike enjoying the best our Indian Summer had to offer.
After finishing the hike, we sat by the river that flows down from the waterfall above and dipped our toes in the cool, invigorating water.
Though my legs were feeling the effort from the descent, my mind was calm and clear. Feeling energised yet completely at peace, I reflected with my husband that “it’d be hard to have a fight here”. He agreed! After 3 hours hiking together, in this place so tranquil yet vibrant, we felt alive, and buzzing with energy.
The trees glowed with pure health and vitality. Their leaves neon green, soaking up the sunlight and radiating life energy for us humans to freely tap into. Glendalough is a beautiful, special place. I felt very lucky to be there among the foreign tourists who’d made a greater effort to visit it. We left feeling completely at peace, with ourselves and our surroundings.
Spending 3 hours in this vast green haven, made it clear in my mind that all I need is space and freedom to move in order to feel calm, happy, and at peace. Peace, Balance, and Harmony. Take every chance to be outdoors in nature, ground yourself barefoot on cool soft grass or in an invigorating stream. Stand in a place surrounded by trees and breathe in the air they give us.
The peace and awe that one feels at Glendalough reminded me of Xavier Rudd – Follow the Sun “take a stroll to your nearest waters edge and remember your place, many moons have risen and fallen long before your came.” We are so fortunate to have Glendalough only an hours drive away.
For more thoughts on how outdoor movement helps you to stay young, see Martha Peterson’s blog post: To Clear the Mind and Reawaken The Body You’ve Got To Move. We completely agree with you Martha!