It’s 7pm and away from the hustle and bustle of evening commuters and the vibrant hum of London’s streets a calm stillness hangs in the air in Dulwich Wood. Together with the adjacent Sydenham Hill Wood the natural space contributes to the largest extant part of the ancient Great North Wood, and is one of many spots earmarked in a collection of mindful running routes designed to refresh your mental wellbeing as well as your physical fitness.
As most city dwellers will attest mental health and the metropolis can be a vicious cocktail even at the best of times. Cramped living spaces, the basic cost of provisions, light and noise pollution among other things can put a strain on our minds. But in a city that has almost as many trees as people there is a movement to put the capital’s green space to better use by practicing mindfulness meditation on the move.
Mindfulness is the psychological process of accepting our surroundings and ourselves in the present moment without judgment. One of the best ways to try mindful running is to switch up your route. A different environment will act as a constant reminder that this run is different, and it will be easier to pay attention to the different sights and sounds you’re perceiving. On a mindful run, turn off your tracking app and instead listen to yourself and appreciate the signals your body is sending to your brain.
Nike.com are using the power of their influence to shed light on mental health and mindfulness, and help millions through their love and passion for running and exercise. The eagerly anticipated launch of the Pegasus 35 is finally here, accompanied with a very strong and powerful message, “Speed up to slow down”.
The best places to run in London for mindful exercise
Sportsshoes.com spoke to Nike’s Track Mafia Cory & Jules to find out the top places to run mindfully in London. Whether you soak up and revel in the busy London atmosphere, or adapt your run to give it a more peaceful surrounding, there’s a new location for you to try here:
- Dulwich Woods (4 miles)
“A hidden gem that lets you lose sight of what’s holding you back and just run fast. With enough greenery to help hide the city but enough twists, turns and inclines to keep your mind active.”
- Sydenham, Camden (9.5 miles)
“There’s something about running through the city as it sleeps, it makes you feel like you’re in your own little movie. I often use this run from south to north to clear my mind which helps me to create.”
- Big Ben to Blackfriars (1.6 miles)
“It might only be a mile or so but in those few minutes you see and feel everything, picking up the pace as London life flashes past you.”
- Hampstead Heath (3.6 miles)
“Because it’s cool, it’s green, it’s quiet. You can lose yourself in the trees or around beautiful houses. You can start in the bottom of the woods and end up at the top of the world looking at the whole of London.”
- Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill (4.8 miles)
“A run that perfectly mixes a longer distance with a steep, hard sprint up Primrose Hill – and with this comes a great feel of achievement when you’re being rewarded with one of the best views over the city.”