Well, to be honest, walking five hundred miles in Ireland would be a challenge. To walk from Mizen Head in Co Cork to Malin Head in Co Donegal would only be three hundred and fifty-four miles, you would need to go almost halfway back again to reach five hundred.
There are five hundred mile walks, the Camino to Santiago de Compostella springs to mind. However, having read Shirley MacLaine’s account of the journey, I am not sure I would find the company congenial.
I do enjoy walking, even if the distances are a small fraction of the five hundred miles and five hundred more. Being of an obsessive-compulsive disposition, if the number of steps in a day runs into five figures, then there is a sense of satisfaction. However, scientists seem now to be debunking the idea that the five figure total is something that is good for you.
Apparently, a study of some 45,000 people around the world has demonstrated that the ideal number of steps in a day is around 6,000 and that there is little evidence to suggest that 10,000 steps a day extends a person’s life.
It is claimed that the 10,000 steps a day was an entirely arbitrary figure that was used by a Japanese company when marketing a pedometer it had developed in 1964. It was a nice round number.
Five hundred miles or 10,000 steps (or almost certainly some lesser figure) of walking might not extend my life, but it does make it considerably better.
Walking relieves stress. Dublin traffic is so slow at times that walking can sometimes be faster. Walking means not having to drive, not having to worry about bus or tram times, not having to sit and watch anti-social behaviour.
Walking means seeing things, stopping and looking at things, changing routes because there is something of interest to be seen a short way from the route you were taking.
Walking means seeing people, a passing nod, a word of greeting, sometimes a conversation. When you live by yourself, whole days can pass without seeing anyone, at least on a walk there is a chance of interaction.
Walking is reassuring. Sit at home and watch the television news and the world seems an unremittingly bleak place. Go out for a walk, and things don’t seem so bad.
Walking is good for the brain. It generates healthy chemicals that lead to a positive view of life.
It would seem reasonable to assume that the more walking you do, the more chance there is of positive benefits. (However, the Camino does seem excessive).