Regular walking’s many benefits
One mission of the Ramblers’ Association is to promote a healthy way of life. Regular walking is widely considered an effective and cost-free physical exercise that has indisputable benefits to health.
Regular walks deliver oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues and help the cardiocascular system to work more efficiently. When a person’s heart and lungs perform better, they have more energy to tackle daily chores, their endurance is boosted and their muscle strength improves.
All Maltese and visitors alike are welcome to join the association’s free weekly Sunday walks and fortnightly Wednesday afternoon walks. Many non-members come along and enjoy the experience, with some eventually becoming regulars.
Although joining these walks is a good start to a healthier lifestyle, it is still a far cry from regular walking. A small group of members have formed what they call the ‘Tuesday Club’ and regularly spend the whole morning every week scouting new routes for future walks. Many others walk their daily distance, making the time for it.
The Ramblers’ Association tries to instil in its members precisely this frame of mind that makes regular walking an integral part of their lifestyle, for it is in this way that full health benefits are derived.
All are welcome to join the association’s free walks
In this day and age of relative prosperity the misuse of affluence often results in health problems connected with obesity. The association believes that regular walking offers a ready remedy to control weight, reduce blood sugar levels, regulate blood pressure, keep arteries and veins clear, and prevent cancer.
Misused affluence is also the cause of the unhealthy environmental chaos that Malta and the Maltese are being subjected to.
On a macroeconomic level, misused affluence is taking repulsive shapes and forms: tower cranes bestride stereotyped high-rises; cranes encroach streets, deforming streetscapes; road-rage traffic with its contaminating fumes; countryside despoiled both generally and genetically; uncontrolled laissez-faire for money-spinning developers, aided and abetted by a compliant Planning Authority and a benign Environment and Resources Authority.
It is surreal! Everything around us is changing beyond recognition, with even poverty taking new forms.
To retain one’s mental health in these circumstances one has to adapt to a new normality – that of habitually being in the shadow of towers and tower cranes, daily walking under dangerous scaffolds or dangling cranes, precariously driving through cramped streets and tight detours, facing drivers raging furiously in frenzied anger from intense traffic, inhaling poisonous exhaust fumes in gridlocked jams.
Gone are the days of driving along a few miles of green countryside because fuel stations now blot the views, containment areas replace valleys, and yards with boats, cars, containers and machinery are taking over fertile fields and meadows.
Everywhere one looks our islands are being laid to waste and bared of their character and beauty, all in the name of progress.
A balanced variety of cultural and scenic walks in Malta and Gozo will be held in November. It is imperative that participants wear good non-slip shoes and adequate clothing for autumn weather. Surfaces may be slippery when wet, which is likely at this time of year.
In case of inclement weather, walks may be cancelled. For further information call 9949 7080 or 7733 2433 or visit the websites below.
Sunday, November 4 at 9am: Fort Madliena – After a short walk along the Victoria Lines we will conduct a cultural visit to this historic fort, viewing heritage defence facilities complementing the Madliena Fort, namely Ta’ Stronka ammo depot, the San Giovanni Battery and Ta’ Anċirietka underground chambers. There will be an open day at the fort with period enactments, parades and other displays. This is an opportunity not to be missed, organised by the Madliena administrative committee in conjunction with Swieqi local council.
November 7 at 2pm: Santa Luċija to Gudja – This is an easy stroll lasting some three hours, starting at the Chinese Gardens, Santa Luċija, that follows country lanes to the quaint village of Gudja.
November 10: The three hills of Gozo – This moderate four-hour walk will start at Nadur square at 9.15am. Ramblers are invited to take the 8.15am ferry from Ċirkewwa to travel together. The route will follow only moderate inclines and will end at Żebbuġ. The way back to the ferry is by bus for those who do not wish to continue walking all the way to Mġarr harbour.
November 18: Buskett and its surrounds – This moderate walk involves some steep inclines and rough terrain in the Buskett woods and the nearby Wied l-Isqof. It starts at the covered car park in Buskett at 9am and lasts some four hours.
November 21: Gozo west coast – This moderate walk starts at 10.30am at the Mġarr ferry terminal and will take about four hours from the harbour to Xlendi via Ta’ Ċenċ.
November 25: Żurrieq valley system – This is a moderate to hard walk over rough terrain that starts off from the parvis of Żurrieq parish church at 9am. It will follow paths along Wied Bassasa and Wied Babu for about four hours.
Alex Vella is execuctive president of the Ramblers’ Association of Malta.