Back in 2010, in a controlled trial for the Journal of Physical and Activity, three academics asked one group of people to walk 10,000 steps a day for 12 weeks while another group was asked to maintain their usual activity. The results that came back for the group that had been walking showed a raft of physical improvements but also indications of personal growth and psychological wellbeing.
According to the mental health charity Mind, physical activity like walking can help to improve everything from your sleep to your mood, manage stress, anxiety and intrusive thoughts, better self-esteem, and reduce the risk of depression.
So walking is good, but what about walking long distances?
“A long-distance journey makes me calmer, more grounded and more mindful,” says Ursula Martin, a prolific wanderer who has chalked up thousands of miles over the last five years, most notably walking all the way from Kiev to her home in mid Wales.