FEELING GREAT: Summerhill is a great place for a good walk

Last week I wrote about the importance of doing something different in order to keep things feeling better.

And just a couple of days ago I got involved in a conversation with a reader of the column while I was out on my bike (who stopped me when I was waiting at traffic lights) and we spoke at length about all the great places in Hartlepool that people could and should, make the best of.

And that got me thinking more about the “top spots” in town that you could spend the next five weeks of the summer holidays with your children or grandchildren.

So, in no particular order, for the next few weeks, I’ll walk you though some of my favourite spots in town and present the health benefits of you spending a few hours in each of them these next few weeks.

Let me start with Summerhill:

Is there a better place in town to spend your day? I always think that Summerhill is one of those hidden gems in Hartlepool that some people don’t even know of, and most who do, never really make the most of. Which is a shame… because it offers something healthy and fun for all ages.

If you’re aged 40, 50 or even in your 60s, it’s the perfect place to keep your joints supple and your heart and lungs healthy. And here’s why:

It offers a variety of surfaces for you to walk along. And that’s important because if you want to take care of vital joints like knee and ankle, walking the same path night after night isn’t advisable. Summerhill offers a pavement and soft grassy areas for you to stroll on with a friend or with grandchildren. How about one lap on the gravel, then next on the grass?

I’d say it would take you about 30 minutes to walk round the set track. Which is the recommended time frame you should be exercising for to help protect your heart and lungs.

And if you wanted to be really adventurous and walk a bit further, there’s a walking route known as the ‘Family Wood Circular’.

I did a bit of research on it (Googled it) and it’s a 5k walk that takes you around Summerhill, through West Park, into Ward Jackson Park and then into the Burn Valley before returning to Summerhill.

Something like that might take you an hour or just more but will be a very nice scenic route, with different things to see along the way and most kids will be able to keep pace and if they are flagging a little, there’s the option of a cafe in the park or swings in the Burn Valley to take a little rest. That route is very flat too.

So it’s ideal and not going to cause any unwanted back stiffness of Achilles type problems that can be a consequence of walking along a route that has lots of hills.

A 5k walk will burn off about 180 calories too. Burn a few more by stopping and playing on the slightly more adventurous swings of Summerhill or even take your bikes?

If you’ve been inspired by the Commonwealth games on TV this last week… you could create your own family “Tri-Athlon”.

Try walking a lap, running a lap and then cycling a lap. If there’s enough children or grandchildren, why not turn it into a “relay” and create a bit of healthy inter-family competition and see who comes out the fittest?