Its important to get your exercise, and now the lockdown rules have been eased a little bit, we can take advantage of National Walking Month!
At the moment its more important than ever to get our heart rates up, get some vitamin D and take some time out to exercise. Its recommended that we all take at least 20 minutes exercise each day, and thats exactly what this year’s National Walking Month campaign is about this year, #try20, an initiative to get us all to walk every single day and to notice the benefits.
Health experts recommend a brisk daily walk as an easy way to improve your health. A 20 minute walk has been shown to reduce the risk of a number of preventable health conditions, including certain cancers, depression, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Mindful walking is a brilliant way to de-stress and to re-focus your mind. Perhaps you’re having a tough day at work, or just need to get away from all the housework. Its about really concentrating on the physical feelings of taking a walk.
Start by repeating ‘left, right’ to yourself each time your feet touch the ground. Focus on how your feet feel with each step. Is the ground soft, hard, smooth or rough? How does the air feel on your skin? Is it breezy or calm, is there moistness in the air or is it dry? Can you feel the heat of the sun, or the bite of frost? Are there any scents in the air? Can you taste anything different? Look around you, are there flowers in the grass, fruit on the bushes, clouds in the sky? What about the sounds, are the birds singing, cars driving along the roads. Try to hear not only the sounds that are close, but those in the distance too. If your mind wanders into the everyday thoughts, repeat ‘left, right’ again and bring your focus to the environment around you.
You can even try mindful walking barefoot, to really experience the feel of the ground underfoot. Just be careful of where you are going and what you may step on.
Exercise for everyone
Walking really is an exercise that everyone can do. Its a way that the older people can stay connected to the outside world, instead of getting bored and ‘wasting away’ in their homes. The fresh air can do you the world of good. For children its a great way to teach them about the world outside them, to appreciate the trees and plants, and different weather patterns. For couples it gives you a chance to talk about your day and what happened at work, or to talk about plans and dreams. Take your dog with you and let them sniff to their hearts content and run around like their life depends on it.