The person who first used the phrase ‘movement is medicine’ probably meant self-propelled movement, but for me any movement is medicine. I am my happiest when I’m moving. I love running and get the most overall benefit from that activity, but I also love driving and enjoy being a passenger, whether in a car, train or aeroplane. I’m not sure about travelling by boat as I’ve very little experience, I like ferries and the two times I’ve been on a yacht I enjoyed it. However, never having been on a cruise I cannot comment on that type of journey. I’m happy to give it a go if a luxury cruise line wants to give me an all-expenses paid trip.
Running is the simplest and most rewarding form of movement for me, getting me close to nature at the same time as giving my body a good workout and hopefully extending my life expectancy and more importantly the length of active life I can look forward to.
Driving obviously gets me from A to B a lot faster, but it lacks the involvement with the environment, I’m quite isolated in my air-conditioned, sound-proofed bubble. I do enjoy the concentration involved in driving and since learning to not be upset by other drivers’ actions I find that concentration relaxing. I love the freedom of driving and the opportunity it gives me to explore new places and find new places to run. I’m also a relaxed passenger taking the view that the driver has passed the same test as I have and probably a more rigorous one if they are younger than I am. They manage to drive around without killing themselves when I’m not a passenger, I cannot see that me sitting beside or behind them will have a dramatic effect on that record. As a passenger you can see more of the passing countryside, daydream if you want to and even make notes of great places to run rather than having to commit them to memory when you are the driver.
Train travel, which is something I do very rarely (cost too much and there are no stations in North Cornwall is a wonderful way to observe the countryside slipping by as if watching a film.
Flying gives you very little to look at, but does offer the prospect of exciting exploration when you arrive. Of all the medicines it is the one that can do the most to improve you as a person. Although the saying that travel broadens the mind is only true if you are prepared to be broad-minded.
So my plea to government is, help reduce the burden on the NHS by encouraging people to get out and exercise in the countryside (perhaps incentivising local authorities to do more to maintain and improve rights-of-way).
And for those of us already getting out there perhaps introduce a travel voucher scheme, we could then use the vouchers to explore the UK or save them up and visit other countries.