Discover the Physical and Mental Benefits of Walking Meditation
The simple act of walking has the power to transform more than just our physical fitness but our mental wellbeing too. When it comes to walking meditation, we’re talking the feel-good factor – the mindfulness that can help us to reduce the stress and anxiety from our often-chaotic lives.
Here at Race At Your Pace, we are passionate about the benefits of walking on both our physical and mental wellbeing and are on a mission to inspire you with challenges that help you to reap those benefits.
So, let’s dive into what we mean by walking meditation, how it can be achieved and how it can help boost our overall health and happiness!
What is Walking Mediation?
What if we could use the time spent walking as a period of mental rest? An opportunity to switch off and even rejuvenate, with the added bonus of getting physically fitter in the process. That is what walking mediation is all about. It’s using the time spent walking to bring our body and mind in sync and is a great way to combine meditating whilst being active rather than stationary. To achieve a whole host of benefits that come with it, we first need to understand how best to incorporate mindfulness into the physical act of walking.
Here, we’ve put together a few of our top tips to help get you started!
Tips for Walking Meditation
Plan your journey
Whether it’s the time you need or the route you take, planning can make all the difference between a physical walk and a mindful walk. If it’s a commute with the purpose of getting you from A to B, why not plan for a slightly longer route that avoids that busy stretch of road in favour of a leafier or quieter alternative. Even allowing just a few minutes on your walk to practise mindfulness can be all that’s needed to clear your head.
Here at Race At Your Pace you can choose from a whole host of virtual challenges, giving you the flexibility to plan a challenge that suits the time you have and the goals you want to achieve, however big or small.
Pay attention to your senses
It is not uncommon to find yourself walking to a destination with almost no memory of what your journey there was like. Our bodies have switched on autopilot to allow us to physically walk but our mind has been elsewhere. Take the time to focus your senses – what can you see around you, what can you smell, what can you hear? Does the ground crunch under your shoes on fallen leaves, or does it squelch in mud? By shifting your focus onto your senses, you are giving your mind less opportunity to wander elsewhere.
Manage a wandering mind
As well as focusing on your senses, if you notice your mind start to drift, try to focus on the physical act of walking. Watch each foot as it lifts off the ground and plants itself in front of the other. Look at the length of your stride, the timing of your feet and the repeated pattern as you switch from one foot to the other. You could even count your steps as a way of focusing your mind. It’s hard to prevent our minds from wandering but we can find ways to manage our thoughts by giving us time away from them, so that they don’t overwhelm us.
Consider your pace
The speed at which you walk can have an impact on your ability to meditate. Too fast, and you may find yourself unable to focus on anything other than how out of breath you are; too slow, and you might find the lack of challenge just isn’t rewarding. Finding a pace that allows you to focus your energy in a way that is peaceful and enjoyable will help you to meditate.
Search for positives
Whilst walking, try to look for positives in your surroundings. A dog lover might pay attention to the dogs they pass whilst walking, whilst a nature lover may take an interest in the trees, flowers or birds. Do you see an act of kindness, someone being helped to cross a road or a postman waving at someone through the window? When you actively search for positives, you may be surprised by what you were missing, and you’re bound to feel good for noticing them!
Benefits of Walking Mediation
Now that you understand more about how to incorporate mindfulness into your walking, all that’s left to do is reap the benefits! Here’s a few of our favourites.
Improve sleep quality
Of course, the act of exercise, particularly in the great outdoors, helps to get your body physically ready for sleep. Research has consistently shown this does not necessarily need to be intense exercise, making walking a great option for a gentle approach to getting physically fit. Add to that the benefits of mediation giving you a clearer and calmer mind and your chance of drifting off to peaceful slumber with ease is greatly improved.
Increase overall fitness
Of course, any activity that gets us moving can help to improve our overall physical fitness. From the strength in our muscles, to the flexibility of our joints and our cardiovascular fitness, regular walking has the potential to help keep our bodies fit and healthy.
Reduce stress and anxiety
Walking meditation is an opportunity to get out of your head and connect with nature. It gives you a break from everyday stresses and anxieties to help reduce the negative impact they can have on your wellbeing.
Boost blood circulation
Walking can be a great way to get your blood flowing, without the need for an intense workout. This is particularly important if you spend long periods sat down and handy for those of us who are not necessarily keen on an intense workout.
Given walking is an activity so many of us will likely be doing already, allowing our walk to be mindful is an achievable option for even those with the busiest of lifestyles.
Improve balance and coordination
Focusing on the physical act of walking may even help to improve balance and coordination. Research from The Journal of Bodywork Movement and Therapies supported this link in a study on elderly females who engaged in 8 weeks of walking meditation practise.
When we allow ourselves the time to meditate by focusing our attention on our walk and not our wandering thoughts, we undoubtedly make the overall experience of walking more enjoyable. In turn, this makes us more likely to want to do it again and when we make it a regular activity, the benefits to our fitness levels and mental wellbeing can continue to grow.
If you’re looking for a way to make walking part of your regular routine, here at Race At Your Pace, our challenges could be the perfect addition to keep you motivated. Getting fit should be as enjoyable as possible, which is why we offer a huge range of options to suit your own individual preferences.
Get Started with Race At Your Pace
When it comes to our health and happiness, exercise and mindfulness are a perfect pair. Whether you prefer to walk, run, cycle, swim or even simply maintain your daily step count, here at Race At Your Pace we have an awesome range of challenges ready for you to conquer to get you feeling fit and healthy today! You can choose your distance, from 5 to 300 hundred miles making it a great way to gradually build you fitness.
With so much choice it’s easy to switch up your routine with different challenges each month and for every month you succeed we’ll even send you a high quality designed and engraved medal to say congratulations!
So, for the ultimate feel-good factor through fitness, why not take a look at the challenges on our website or feel free to get in touch with a member of our friendly team today to find out more.