The Extraordinary Power of Walking (and Giving)

For Ann Loewen, having a tangible, slowed-down connection with the land is extremely important. The Winnipeg-based family physician lives steps from The Great Trail, and considers it part of her day-to-day life.

“I think that an underserviced area of our psyche is to be physically outdoors,” Ann says, “We need to touch and connect with the lands that we move across.”

In her leisure time, Ann cycles, back country hikes, canoes and tackles other outdoor adventures. She understands how these activities — especially walking — affect her overall well-being. The information she accesses from the immense pool of research studies is clear: the health benefits of walking are extraordinary. Along with really good nutrition, she notes, nothing else compares.

“I know the way being outdoors makes me feel… it’s completely different from more cognitive experiences,” she explains, “Plus, time outside is a form of preventative medicine. Nothing I can prescribe compares to regular brisk walking.”

Supporting the Trail

Like many Canadians, supporting The Great Trail was a natural step — walking pun intended — for Ann. Building a national trail system is, quite literally, an investment in the health of Canadians.

“What better way to express my ideals than putting my money where my mouth is,” Ann highlights.

The Act of Walking

As a physician, The Great Trail unites a cluster of Ann’s ideals, both personal and professional. She’s quick to underscore the meditative/contemplative side of walking. While our Trail might not have the spiritual history of a path such as Spain’s Camino de Santiago de Compostela, she emphasizes that walking is something unifying to all humans. It brings us to something very basic.

“As you can imagine, I am always telling my patients, just get out and walk. The act of walking is extraordinarily powerful.”

Photo credit: Nicole Kubala, NK Photography and Design