10 Reasons To Walk Everyday And How To Do A Walking Meditation
For some people, taking a walk might seem like child’s play compared to running a marathon or competing in CrossFit, but walking can help you maintain your health especially if you don’t have enough time or interest in intense exercise.
You know we were meant to move and one of the best ways to do that is by walking. Your health will be enhanced by taking a daily walk. Of course one of the number one reasons why you should walk is that it helps you manage your stress before your stress manages you.
Here are 10 other benefits of a daily walk:
1. You’ll feel better. If you’re currently not getting enough exercise, a walk is a great way to ease into it. You get out of the house, you breathe a little fresh air and your mood is enhanced.
2. Walking gets you good bones. Studies such as "Walking and Leisure-Time Activity and Risk of Hip Fracture in Postmenopausal Women" show that hip fractures are reduced in postmenopausal women that walk for at least 30 minutes each day.
3. Walking helps you sleep better if done regularly. Although it’s low impact, walking is still a form of exercise. Getting your body moving daily helps expend excess energy helping you have a more restful night. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, the solution might be as simple as a daily walk.
4. Your risk of chronic disease is lower if you walk each day. Studies have found that your risk of developing diabetes or suffering a stroke are reduced significantly. Thirty minutes of walking is all you need each day to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%. A stroll can also lower your blood pressure.
5. Walking helps keep you regular. If you suffer from constipation, daily walks can work wonders for your bowels.
6. Great habits start with walking. Most successful people have routines. You’re more likely to experience success by maintaining positive routines in your life.
7. You might lose weight. If you increase your physical activity without increasing your caloric intake, most likely you will drop a few pounds. But even if you don’t, your muscles will tone as walking becomes more a part of your life.
8. Walking is good for your brain. Older seniors that walk daily have decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.
9. Walking helps increase creativity. It gets the blood flowing and helps you think. Do you have a challenge at work or at home? Take a nice, long walk, because it may help you come up with a solution.
10. You’ll live longer. Being active is one of the keys to long life. Because walking keeps all your bodily systems running properly. Wanna extend your life? Then get up on your feet and go for a walk.
Best of all, when walking there’s no new skill to learn and no equipment to purchase. You just put on your shoes and get out the door.
However, sometimes when you’ve incorporated walking into your life and it’s become a regular habit, you might find yourself becoming a bit bored. That’s when it’s time to shake things up. One way of doing this is through walking meditation.
Practicing the Art of Walking Meditation
Walking meditation allows you to add extra dimension to your walking habit. It helps you to renew your inspiration and energy, while also combining two of my favorite activities – meditation and walking.
When you engage in walking meditation, you'll be using some of the same principles as regular meditative practice.
Here are some tips to use when beginning traditional meditation, they can also improve your walking meditation experience:
Schedule yourself plenty of time, at least 30 minutes to an hour.
Focus all of your attention on your breath.
Try to avoid making noise as it may distract you.
Concentrate solely on the present moment.
Go with the flow.
Follow the energy that your mind is giving you.
Introduction To Walking Meditation
Walking meditation differs from regular meditation and traditional walks in one core way. You're walking while you meditate instead of staying still. Or you can look at it as adding a meditation component to your walking practice. This can be really helpful if you’re a person who thinks better when you’re in motion.
Use these strategies to enhance your experience as you begin walking meditation:
1. Start by standing. Don't begin walking right away. Pay attention to your breath. Stay calm and give yourself time to get into a steady pattern of breathing. Once you've achieved this balance, you start your walk. This stage can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes; just do what feels right for you at the time.
2. Choose your location. It’s helpful to have an idea about where you're going to walk before you start your walking meditation. Why? Because, if you don't have a plan in mind beforehand, you may be too distracted thinking about where you're headed and that will take away from the meditation component of your walk.
Of course, you can walk wherever you want, but consider choosing a place that’s calm instead of busy. You can walk in a park and take in nature, or you can even walk in circles in a large empty room.
3. Watch your pace. When you’re conducting a walking meditation, your pace will naturally vary from session to session, and that's okay. You can even do this on purpose. Try starting out faster than normal, then slow down to your typical pace and notice how this effects your concentration or how you feel.
4. End your session. Most sessions last about 30 minutes to an hour. This should be enough time for you to enjoy the meditative aspects and get some exercise as well. To end your session, slow down and stand up straight for a few minutes. Focus on your breathing just as you did at the beginning of your session.
Watch Your Emotions
As you’re getting used to walking meditation, you may find that much like regular meditation it has the power to put you in touch with your true emotions. Some people are unsure about what they're feeling and may end up repressing feelings or acting out in anger. Your emotions will generally rise up during a walking meditation session, which is why it's a good idea for you to engage in these walking meditation sessions often.
With continued practice, you'll find a powerful tool in your life that can calm, refresh, inspire, and motivate you wherever you go!
It may feel a bit awkward at first but stick with it. You can do it because it’s all about Making Time.
Let’s talk, what benefits do you get from walking? Let me know in the comments section.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a facilitator, stress management coach and author of “Yes I’m Grateful,” a gratitude journal. She believes in empowering her clients to help them manage their stress and increase self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn