Over the Christmas Holidays I met my old friend Graham Yates ,also an Osteopath, we walked for 5 hours in London. In that 5 hours we chatted about Osteopathy and its impact in the future of Musculoskeletal Medicine and maybe we just gossiped too and remarked about the changes one feels when hitting the half century – man talk I may add!! Meeting friends and walking is something I havent done in along time as Birmingham is very 'arterial' and car dependant . Walking is a very underestimated exercise , today we hear of core workouts, and kettlebells and all sorts of new and exciting ways to chisel and trim our bodies . Walking on the other hand is gentle on the body and can be paced according to ability/disability and energy levels . Its good for your bones – supporting your bodyweight and stimulation of bone growth through vibration . Walking on a bright day ( adequate protection) and exposing your face and forearms for just 20 mins is a 'Vitamin D' bath also very good for bone and skin health, dont over expose however. Its good for your posture – well that's if your mindful of how you are walking , let shoulders sit comfortably , breathe steadily – definitely dont text . Listen to music but be aware of your surroundings , best without music but if you must !! Being in the upright position stimulates the muscle that help you stand , they are called the erector spinae but also some youve never considered like your bum muscles or 'glutes' . Its my number one exercise for back pain , mainly because we spend so much time sitting which by folding yourself in this manner stretches and weakens the back and neck muscles , and of course 'texting' again. The leg muscles also and the stomach muscles even if slight are all stimulated in the standing posture and walking . Its good for your metabolism , burning away some of the extra calories that we accumulate in the Western Diet. Its good for your soul – Chattting with a friend , good scenery be that city-scape or countryside , people watching or nature watching . So much more is seen on foot than by car . Its good for your pocket too as it might save a bus fare , especially in cities . The NHS advises walking as an aid to the prevention of disease . http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/getting-started-guides/Pages/getting-started-walking.aspx It's what's termed by health Gurus today as a 'lifestyle change' . Such is the impact of these changes it is believed that around 80 per cent of current disease in the UK can be solved by instigating these changes. http://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/02February/Pages/trend-for-north-south-health-divide.aspx Indeed it's the main reason cited for the health divide that exists in the UK from South to North . North means, North of Watford of course so this might represent an economic marker . Did I see less chip shops on my London walk? more people engaged in sport ? Perhaps but I noticed that outside of the main streets I didnt really see many people . The 'gentrification ' of these areas has made them quite safe really maybe thats why we dont see too many people , maybe the public transport is just better and they are all travelling on public transport . I count myself lucky for passing my driving test at 41 years old , perhaps the trail of driving instructors I left behind wouldnt agree , but passing late has meant more walking , which I believe has contributed to my health. Our walk started in Leicester square where we stopped for a cheap Chinese meal in Chinatown, a simple boiled rice, duck and chilli oil , simple but good , washed down with a little green tea. We then walked from there around Covent Garden passing one of my faves the British Cheese Shop its an amazing place especially if you love cheese , and they always let you taste !!Then past the many 'still' entertainers around the square – now that's discipline !!! Then through more streets to Cork Street , Graham fantasized over the probability of his wife displaying her Art there behind the expansive glass windows ( Caroline Yates – she's already known!!) , apparently if you make to Cork Street then that's a major rung on the ladder to being even more well known . Then onto Portobello road ( 1 brief moment on the bus ) , to take in the market atmosphere and stop for some Portuguese Custard Tarts and an Americano. London now has coffee shops on every corner , and that's a mixture of independent and 'chains'. Portobello is a market area and has a very chic and also bohemian collection of coffee places, if you've never been its a must . Its a place where old meets new , chic meets bohemian and a boiling pot of class and culture. Then miles meandering away through Paddington Basin , Kensington Gardens , Hyde Park , Knightsbridge and High Street Kensington, until we reached Sloane Square , then down the trendy Kings Road to New Kings Road and Parsons Green to have a few pints of well kept ale at the White Horse pub . After a well earned rest back into the centre – night bus this time !! end of a great day out for my feet, my legs , my bones may heart and my soul . Oh the craic was good !!! Just to give you a flavour of the whole soulful returns a great walk can give , heres a Van Morrisons Coney Island , just to ignite your heart : Coming down from downpatrick Stopping off at st. johns point Out all day birdwatching And the craic was good Stopped off at strangford lough Early in the morning Drove through shrigley taking pictures And on to killyleagh Stopped off for sunday papers at the Lecale district, just before coney island On and on, over the hill to ardglass In the jamjar, autumn sunshine, magnificent And all shining through Stop off at ardglass for a couple of jars of Mussels and some potted herrings in case We get famished before dinner On and on, over the hill and the craic is good Heading towards coney island I look at the side of your face as the sunlight comes Streaming through the window in the autumn sunshine And all the time going to coney island Im thinking, Wouldnt it be great if it was like this all the time. Please read the articles Ive tagged on and google free walks in London . They take in areas of Architecture, History , Street Art and Gastronomy but also lots of different types of people. Good footwear advised . The next day some very aching muscles , sore bunions (after all I am fifty) , but most of all an overwhelming relaxation that I don't experience the day after a resistance session or a highly active circuits.. Here's to more walking days in 2014.