I’m often asked how to begin meditating (and, no, you don’t have to sit crossed legged on a cushion with your eyes closed, chanting). My answer is simple – stop whatever you’re doing, be aware of any tension you’re holding and take 5 long, slow, deep breaths before resuming the day. Meditation and mindfulness go hand in hand. What’s mindfulness? For me it’s doing something with your whole heart. Let’s look at how it combines with walking.
Spending time outside in the fresh air and sunlight helps regulate circadian rhythms (your body clock) and increases serotonin levels. This in turn raises energy levels and may make you feel happier with life.
Walking raises your heart rate, depending on your speed. It also balances the left and right sides of the brain making you more aware of what’s going on inside and around you.
Moving with your whole concentration is a wonderful way to notice your surroundings and the changing of the seasons. Many of us spend a lot of time in cars, offices and homes and not as much time outside in the natural environment as we would like. Take a short 15-30 minute walk each day; stay aware of how you breathe and of each foot in turn touching the ground. Becoming mindful, you’ll also see how your stamina and walking pace improve with time.