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When stress and anxiety take hold, there’s nothing better than chewing the fat while  pounding the pavement – it’s a great way to get exercise, soak up that much-needed Vitamin D and share your thoughts with a friend.

According to personal trainer Jay Pattison, walking is one of the best ways to get your heart rate up and your muscles moving whilst enjoying fresh air and sunshine at the same time.

“Our bodies are designed to walk, so I always suggest my clients include a few walks into their weekly routine,” says Jay. “Make use of an incline to load up your muscles and maintain a brisk pace to raise your heart rate. If you have a dog, walking them can provide much-needed companionship and socialisation – especially during isolation.”

In addition to improving your cardiovascular fitness, walking can also reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, improve your management of high cholesterol, hypertension and other conditions, stronger bones and improved balance and increase your muscle strength and endurance.

What’s more, walking helps circulate blood flow, particularly to your brain. A good walk can help improve your self-perception and self-esteem, and help you get a better night’s sleep, too. By consistently incorporating walking into your fitness regime, you will reduce stress, anxiety and fatigue, and even reduce your risk of depression by up to 30%.

On the other hand, talking is a vital part of stress management. It can stop your worries and concerns from overwhelming you, and allow you to gain a better perspective. Sharing your thoughts with a friend or family member forces you to consider them carefully, as you have to articulate them to get your point across. 

And, most importantly, talking about the things that are weighing on your mind will help lighten the load – both because the person you’re talking to can provide advice, and because your worries won’t seem so big when you start talking about them.

If you’re in need of a good walk and talk with a friend, these are our top five favourite places to do it.

Along the Brisbane River
The Kangaroo Point Walk might just offer one of the best panoramic views of Brisbane’s skyline – the best part of it is, you can see the Story Bridge from here, too. Tackle the infamous stairs or stroll along the river for some fun fitness.

Burleigh Head National Park
Burleigh Head National Park: Rainforest Circuit (2.3km). A beautiful circuit through the rainforest along the headland. Tumgun Lookout is a great place to look for humpback whales in winter and spring.

Currumbin Creek Estuary
Set back from the coastline on the Western side of the Gold Coast highway, the Beree-Badalla Reserve boardwalk is less than a kilometre in length – but those hoping for a longer route can continue through Tarrabora Reserve and back again for a 2.4km round trip.

Mount Cougal
The Mount Cougal Cascades track is an easy 1.6km return walk at the headwaters of Currumbin Valley. You’ll pass cascading waterfalls and lush rainforest on the way to a stunning viewing platform and the old timber mill that operated in 1945.

Kedron Brook
The babbling Kedron Brook winds through much of Brisbane’s inner-northern suburbs, but can be best enjoyed at Kalinga Park. Follow the track from the playground to the sports fields, across Shaw Road and along the Kedron Brook dog walk.

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haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.