“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts.”
My simple solution: a walk a day in nature.
A walk a day keeps (insert adjective) away – stress, worry, illness, anxiety – you choose. Yes, it is not a fix for everything, but one 30-minute walk daily not only get us off the couch and away from the t.v./computers, but it gets our blood circulating, releases endorphins into our body and brings fresh air into our lungs, clearing our mind and makes us feel overall good.
All of this improves our productivity and gets our creative juices flowing. And it’s the simplest form of exercise that anyone can do – you don’t need any fancy equipment or a gym membership. It’s just you and an open path.
5 tips for making the most out of your walk:
- Walk in nature. It’s still nice and beneficial to take a walk around the neighborhood, but take it a step further and make a point to surround yourself with nature, trees, water and wildlife. Being in a natural setting makes us more generous and patient and clears our mind and nature lowers our stress levels and reduces anxiety. Simply put, the impact of nature on our mind and body is amazing.
- Leave the phone in your pocket. For 30 minutes in your day, do not check your phone, social media, text messages or internet. In a world of minute-by-minute Twitter updates and Facebook posts, take a step back and know that the who-said-what-and-when isn’t as important as your mental, emotional and physical well-being. Take this as an opportunity to recharge your brain and body and connect with the present world.
- Start a journal. This may sound intimidating, but it’s really not. Bring along a notebook and record what you are seeing, feeling, thinking while you are on your walk. Write poetry, collect samples, draw a bird or a leaf – there are no fast or hard rules. Don’t judge your work while you are writing and just let your word flows with your thoughts. Sometimes writing things down helps empty a full brain.
- Engage with your present moment. Look around you and soak in the world and engage your senses with the place you are at in the moment. Listen for the birds, dip your bare feet in the river, sit down on a bench or in the grass and absorb the moment you are in. Take 5 minutes to close your eyes to clear your mind, breathe and meditate.
- Dress for the weather – sounds like a “duh” idea, but being comfortable in the current weather conditions at the time of your walk is crucial to you being relaxed and enjoying your time outdoors. If you are absolutely freezing, sweating through your clothes, wearing high heels or forgot your sunscreen on a sunny day, you are more likely to complain internally through the whole walk and constantly glance at your watch, counting down the minutes until you can get back to your comfy couch.
What are some of the ways you unwind in nature? Any favorite places you enjoy walking? I’d love to hear your thoughts!