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Chris The Coast Walker charity

I want to focus on why walking outdoors as part of everyday life is important to us as humans and our mental health, and why it’s also important for the environment. Walking has almost no negative impact on the environment at all but it has huge positive impacts on people, our bodies and our emotional wellbeing; as well as the way we treat our planet. As humans we are effectively short term tenants on the Earth and we need to respect and look after the environment we find our adventures in that’s why for me it’s never been more important.

Chris The Coast Walker back pack

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us were restricted and we couldn't enjoy our usual access to the natural environment. It was a difficult time with many people struggling with their mental health and lack of human contact. Getting into the garden was a saviour for many but not everyone was blessed with space for outdoor activities, especially in the city. I'm fortunate to live in the country with easy access to a natural landscape for recreation so I was able to walk daily but i still felt the restrictions. Like many people, walking or spending leisure time outside helps me reduce stress and improves my sense of wellbeing. We all know that feeling better about ourselves improves our problem solving abilities, boosts self-esteem and increases our happiness.

Thanks to the Covid-19 vaccine and lockdown lifting, people can, once again, enjoy activities in the natural environment. I’m privileged to be on my own adventure around the United Kingdom, exploring the British coastline & walking everyday which is definitely improving my wellbeing. It has slowed my mental chatter down and helped me be more mindful of the things around me. Everyday I see how wildlife and the natural world is impacted by a human presence. From the tiniest of beetles and butterflies to birds of prey to seals, dolphins & jelly fish nature is everywhere and it’s our responsibility to help it keep thriving. The only way to do that is to reduce our own human impact on it.

Chris The Coast Walker Sunset

On my journey I’ve met people and communities all around the coast that are taking small steps to affect big changes in the natural environment. They are making improvements through volunteering in many different activities; everything from beach cleans to helping communities source more responsible products & helping to educate & inform best practices in our daily lives.

Everywhere I go on the coast around England I meet inspiring people and organisations recycling, reusing & repurposing beach litter with the same aim which is to improve the world around us. I’ve joined local community projects in helping to care for beautiful areas and promote biodiversity in all kinds of interesting coastal habitats. I’ve learnt that a beach isn’t just sun, sand & sea but it’s so much more than a weekend playground for us, it’s a permanent outdoor home for truly majestic creatures great and small.

Taking a walk along a beach in the UK is one of the best and most rewarding leisure activities you can do. In this country we have superb access to the coastline and there are opportunities for people to reach the shore regardless of any physical disabilities. We should seize the chance and savour the experience. Go slowly & gently, enjoy your leisure time, let your stress melt away and take the opportunity for mindfulness. Observe the shores and marvel at their wonders. The experience will give you an incentive to ask yourself what you can do today to help your environment because even individual actions help both you and the natural world more than you know.

Turn your leisure into practical action and your mental health will benefit. There's nothing like playing your part in problem solving real concerns in your community and making the change part of everyday life to make us feel like we are contributing to the wellbeing of our wonderful natural world.

Chris The Coast Walker Rainbow

Even when we can't get outside, we can all choose to use brands that are waking up to the importance of sustainable & environmentally conscious materials, less waste & more care & respect for our planet. It doesn’t have to be a big life-changing decision. It can be as small as thinking about which coffee you wake up with… Make your choice for your adventure & our planet.

Find out more about Chris the Coast Walker, follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to discover where he's got to on his amazing journey. You can support Children in Need by sponsoring him or even sign up to buy him a cup of coffee.

Chris The Coast Walker peaks