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5 Reasons That Walking Is the Best Meditation

5 Reasons That Walking Is the Best Meditation

As a health and well-being writer, I am constantly searching for ways that people incorporate meditation into their lives in a practical way. By now we’ve all heard of the benefits of meditation — it can lower stress and anxiety, improve immune function, and decrease pain. Now recently, scientists are even telling us it can increase grey matter in the brain, leading to better memory function, emotional stability, and mindful behavior. In short meditation is a bit of a wonder practice — if you can make it work for you.

The problem is, not all of us can. For some of us (me included) sitting in silence focusing on your breathing just isn’t practical. Not only can it be difficult to find that inner silence you’re looking for; at times, it can be hard to find literal silence if you live in a shared house, or have children, or a partner, or a dog, or a parrot.

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So recently I went for a walk, and not just your usual walk. Actually it was a hike: six days of walking with nothing to do but just think. Well, that’s the opposite of meditation right? The principle of meditation is to silence your thoughts. The interesting thing was that my brain ran out of things to think about pretty quickly, (particularly when the going got steep and all I could concentrate on were the three steps in front of me). After a few hours of walking, it suddenly hit me like a boulder — I was meditating, and there was no crossed legs or chanting involved.

This is why walking works for me, and can for you too.

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1. It clears your mind.

Unlike guided meditation, which asks you to clear your head of all thoughts (often producing the opposite effect), walking naturally allows your mind to go quiet. While you might start your walk thinking of everything that you need to do today, or this week, after a while, the rhythm of your footfall and movement acts as a focus, allowing you to just focus on the road ahead of you. Something that helps me with this is instrumental music, ( lyrics are distracting to your brain). The combination of walking while listening to melodic music provides a sense of calm that is difficult to find elsewhere.

2. You can do it (almost) anywhere.

While regular meditation requires you to find a quiet space where you can be alone, a walk can be done anywhere (with the exception of high rise buildings and space stations). You don’t have to trek up mountains, or across barren landscape to feel the effect of walking meditation, I have had equally peaceful walks through busy cities. The important factor is to be alone with yourself, even if you’re not physically alone.

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Listen to music, but put your phone on airplane mode — don’t check your texts, emails, or social media. Allow your mind to focus only on your walk, not the destination or distractions along the way, but on the act of walking, the rhythm of your footfall, knowing that you are travelling in a direction, but not getting caught up on where that is or when you will arrive.

3. It gets your body moving.

One of my biggest frustrations when it comes to traditional meditation is that my body is restless. It wants to move, or I can feel an ache in my arm, or suddenly have an uncontrollable urge to scratch my elbow. With walking, that is all taken care of already; your body is distracted — it’s moving in a constant rhythm leaving nothing to focus on but your mind. What’s more, because endorphins —those lovely exercise hormones— are being released, it allows your mind to contemplate things in a much more positive way.

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4. It connects you with nature.

 Studies have shown that connecting to nature on a regular basis, whether that is through walking, gardening, or animal care, can improve your mood and decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. Walking is the perfect opportunity to do this. Even if you live in a city, get to a park. Even if the weather is awful, enjoy the feeling of the wind and rain on your skin. Being in nature reminds us of who we are, of our connection to the world, and can allow us to see some of our more petty problems for what they really are.

5. It gives you the distance you’ve been searching for.

Whether you’re taking a stroll in a local park, or setting off on your own personal mountain odyssey, walking gives you both physical and mental distance from whatever issues may be bothering you. Once you’ve given your mind a chance to clear, and not think for a while, it allows you to approach the issue from a fresh perspective. You can be alone with yourself, and free to think over what’s going on without distraction, or input from an outside source. You often find that you return home with a completely different head on to the one you left with — calmer, clearer, and ready to start again.

Featured photo credit: to move seasonally by aya padrón via flickr.com

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

5 Fitness Tips That Will Help You Start the New Year

5 Fitness Tips That Will Help You Start the New Year

The New Year has come and passed, and we are starting yet another new and exciting year that awaits us. We are curious to find out what 2017 has hidden for us, but until then you know what you need to do! Just because it is a new year, that does not mean that you should get rid of your habit of regular exercising. And if you by any chance do not have this wonderful habit, this is exactly the year to own it.

Start researching for the best exercising plans, join the nearest gym or that yoga class that you have been thinking of, and start taking better care of your body and mind!

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Why Is Exercising Important?

Of course, you will think of a thousand excuses why this is not the right time to start exercising. So, before I proceed with telling you all about these 5 fitness tips that are meant to help you with your exercising routine, I will start off by sharing some of the many benefits of exercising. This way you can see for yourself that for every excuse you can think of, there is a benefit that will make you forget all about it!

  • Exercising is the perfect way to get rid of that unwanted body weight and control your weight from now on! Not to mention it’s completely healthy compared with all those expensive, promising products filled with chemicals.
  • Exercising reduces the risk for Diabetes 2 and heart attacks. If you are at risk for these conditions, then exercising is the best way to fight it.
  • Exercising helps with pain and stiffness relief with all types of arthritis.
  • Exercising strengthens your bones and muscles.
  • Exercising improves your mood and helps you maintain your mental health.

For whatever reason you have dedicated to starting exercising, I congratulate you! Knowing how many people are out there suffering from types of arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, strokes, etc., choosing exercising to become a part of your everyday routine is the smartest decision that you could have done! And you are not alone. 

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To start you off, here are these 5 fabulous fitness tips that will help you start yet another year on the right path!

1. Schedule your workouts

Make time each Sunday to make a week plan that will include enough time for your workouts. That way, you will not be able to make the excuse that you do not have the time to spend at least an hour a day exercising.

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2. Do not wait for Monday to come

Aren’t you tired of making the same plan over and over and not fulfilling it? Yes, we are talking about that good old plan to start exercising on Monday. Instead, start exercising right now. It is completely irrelevant if it is Tuesday, or Friday, or any other day! Start exercising whenever you feel the urge!

3. Find a workout plan that will work for you

Do not choose a workout plan just because your best friend has chosen it. Choose whatever you feel comfortable doing, are capable of doing, and most importantly, what you love. If you do not like to run, then don’t! Do a 30-minute cardio routine at home instead. If needed, you can hire a personal trainer, who will hear all of your interests when it comes to exercising, and create a promising exercising plan just for you!

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4. Remember why you work out

Do not let yourself forget why you have started working out in the first place. Motivation is everything when it comes to exercising! Create a motivation board near your mirror that will remind you each day why you started as you look in the mirror every day.

5. Leave out the big expectations for later

If you are just starting to exercise now, it is essential to be proud of what you can accomplish right now. Do not get disappointed if you can’t run for an hour; it is normal! You will soon run for an hour and more if you just stick to your plan!

Exercising is fun, beneficial, and probably the best activity that you could have chosen to start your year right! Choose the best diet plan to go with your new exercising routine, and enjoy in the results that are soon to come. And to help you through the process, look back at these fitness tips to help you stay on track with your new exercising routine! Use these tips to keep yourself healthy, or get rid of that unwanted body weight gained during the holidays, and love your soon to be fit body starting today!

Featured photo credit: goodhousekeeping.com/ via google.com

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