On January 1, 2020, walking therapist Carmen Rendell will leave her childhood home in Weston-super-Mare, and head south to follow the coastal path around the entire British Isles. Her goal is to raise awareness of the huge mental health benefits of walking in nature. Local communities and individuals across the nation will have the chance to join her along the way.
Throughout her journey, Carmen will be hosting regular ‘Soulwalks’ – simple, short, group walks in nature for anyone to join. Her message is simple: families, individuals, schools, businesses can come together to walk for three kilometres. For no other reason than to be in nature and talk to each other.
People can also pledge to support an individual ‘Sole2Soul Walk’ with Carmen – where they, someone they nominate, or a stranger, can join her to walk and talk. As a trained integrative therapist, with experience as a private practitioner, Carmen will use this time to give individuals the opportunity for therapy, whilst walking in nature.
A Loughborough University Alumni, national league hockey player, sailor on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and Camino de Santiago walker, Carmen is familiar with the benefits of exercise, sport and walking for mind, body and spirit balance.
Commenting on her ambitious goal, Carmen says: “Walking therapy benefits us in many ways. Science has proven that walking in nature can improve our mental wellbeing, by quietening our nervous system, reducing inflammation, repairing our brain and lowering our blood pressure.”
Reinforcing these benefits, neuroscientist Shane O’Mara says: “The experience of walking can allow you to escape yourself and this non-ego focus is healthy. We should spend more time not thinking of ourselves.”
Carmen’s route will primarily follow the coastal path, and she will let people know the calendar of events on the Soulhub website – www.soulhub.co.uk. Soulwalks can be organised in towns, villages or cities along the route and people can contact Carmen to organise one on her behalf that she can join.
Carmen will be interviewing people along the way for her ‘SoulCast’ podcast. From local fisherman to business owners, teachers and artists, her goal will be to understand the true state of the nation and establish how people feel in the current social, economic and political environment. Carmen will also be hosting ‘SoulTalks’ in schools and communities and is keen to hear from anyone who would like her to come and talk about mental health and walking in nature.