That simple free restorative pastime that truly is beneficial to mind, body and soul. Walking as meditation, stress relief, social activity & exercise.
Sarah Ban Breathnach recommends in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy that you partake in twenty to thirty minutes of walking everyday, not as exercise but as a form of mediation. That you take long strides, focus on your breath and try to quiet the voices in your head. notice birds singing, dogs barking and pretty garden. Treat the raised heart beat, increased strength and other exercise benefits as just an added bonus. She reminds us that anytime is a good time for a walk, early morning after you wake, during your lunch break or in the evening, everyone can find some time during the day that works for them.
Kimberly Crossman in her book Love You: Be your Best And Live Your Dreams has a completely different take on walking, viewing it as a great social activity that helps her connect with her friends. She recommends that instead of catching up over coffee you arrange to meet for a walk at a park or beach. She believes that by hanging out with friends and chatting while you walk the time goes quickly, it becomes a pleasurable activity and you’re more like to want to do it more often.
Caroline Jones in her book The Desperate Housewife’s Guide to Life And Love: Essential Survival Strategies for Enjoying Your Family, Career, Friends and Sex Life talks about brisk walking being one of the best forms of exercise when you’re 50+. That it is very important to stay active at this age even though you may be slightly more susceptible to fractures, your body will thank you and stay in much better shape, especially if you remember to chuck in some steps on your regular walks as well.
I really struggle to make walking a regular part of my weekly routine, even though I completely agree with Sarah and Kimberly that it is both excellent stress relief and social connecting. I do really enjoy walking with friends and family and always feel much more connected afterwards I never seem to plan these walks into my weekly routine and are only something that happens spontaneously. Also I will bust out of the office for a very brisk walk at lunchtime if I’m having a particularly stressful day and always return feeling much better with a clearer head for the afternoon and even though I know I would hugely benefit from adding this to my everyday routine at work I never seem to do it on a good day. I am going to have to look at why I don’t make something that is so clearly beneficial to me more of a priority.