Running and that “Field” Good Factor

A favourite phrase of mine is “your health is your wealth” and having running as my main pastime, outside of work and family means I’ve stayed fairly healthy. Reaching my 60th birthday was initially a bit daunting but I have a lot to be thankful for, not least of which is being able to exercise in stunning locations which massively contribute to my overall wellbeing and physical condition.

June the 13th to the 19th is World Men’s Health week were men are encouraged to focus on their health, be aware of problems they could have developed and do something about it. One way to achieve this is exercising outdoors.

I think it’s really important to appreciate the beauty that’s around us. This blog has three photos from my recent May / June running, I hope to express the feelings that you can experience while taking in the countryside. Outdoor exercise really does give you a “Field” good factor ­čÖé

The first photo was taken at about 6.30pm after a long day wrestling with spreadsheets. Working in an office inevitably means sitting down for long periods and being surrounded by four walls. On arriving at the car park I had this particular field in mind as by the nature of the seasons I knew it would be a sea of yellow. I might have only been on the outskirts of town but I had been transported into a calm and tranquil place both visually and in my mind. All my spreadsheet thoughts had disappeared.

Spring is so uplifting, April’s bluebells have been and gone but the wild flowers come in waves, all you need to know is where to find them. Closer to hand the flowers are spread out but as you take in the brightly coloured meadow it reminded me of a painting where dots and splashes of sunshine yellow paint had been applied. Buttercups radiate happiness and optimism which, when combined with lush green grass and a clear blue sky, makes for a perfect palette of colours.

I’m not 100% sure which wild flowers these are in my second photo but this mauve cluster of plants really caught my eye while running through the South Downs national park. The trees dark green leaves blended and yet contrasted with the lighter green grass and the pale purple flowers. I say pale purple but in the bright midday sunshine you could pick out greys, blue and even violet shades.

While running through a national park you’d be expecting areas of outstanding natural beauty but in some ways pockets of vibrant joy can catch your eye just as easily. With the sun being directly overhead I guess you take in the sights around you to there fullest extent, sunrise and sunset naturally get all the attention but I feel the light is at its best under the noon sun.

What you can’t see and hear from this photo are the various insects flying, buzzing and generally interacting with both the flowers and me, ha ha. The heat, along with the view made me ponder that I could have been in The Alps rather than a few miles from Petersfield !!

My final field photo is a rising path between the crops which later in the Summer will be a field of gold. This man made track divides your view between the cultivated grain and the cotton wool clouds. Were as buttercups and other wild flowers don’t have a purpose this crop has been managed and will eventually be reaped and sold so there’s a structure to it, a reason and a goal, as opposed to the first two photos were nature has randomly sprinkled the flowers for pollinators and insects as food and shelter.

Inevitably I ran slower up the hill and this allowed me to take in the swishing and swaying almost as if I was running through a green sea. The tide wasn’t so much coming in or going out but making small circles. Not the crop circles that appear on the end of the evening news but circles that you could have made by dipping your hand in the sea.

The benefits of nature are well known and when you couple this with exercise then it’s a recipe for good healthy living. As Louis Armstrong famously sang ….

“I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them blossom for me and you, and I think to myself what a wonderful world”

Make the most of your time and health, hopefully it will repay you in the long run

Thanks for reading

Roger