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Walking to Health

At 6.30 am you open one eye. It's quiet enough to hear a variety of birds in the trees in your neighborhood. There are no vehicle sounds. And then you remember the lockdown. Weird how just for a second it just seemed like a normal day. 

It's your working day wake up time, minus the commute but with double the housework. Not just cooking and eating breakfast, but also washing dishes, laundry to wash, dry, fold and return to closets, also finding decent vegetables to cook and how do we get our hands on some fruit? And with this much housework eating into your day, how on earth do you manage seven hours of work from home? And we aren’t even mentioning kids! 

With all this busy work its an interesting paradox that one of the toughest challenges about staying home is staying fit and active. Gyms are all closed. If you’re used to getting in a game of tennis or a swim every evening that's out too. And if you at least walked 10 minutes to and from your carpool spot each day, well you need to find a replacement. 

Being in good health and fitness is about an attitude to being active, to consciously giving up sedentary modes. Here is one way to begin shifting over.  

Practice conscious walking. You can do this anytime in the day when you get a little peace. You can do it more than once and you can set up to do this at work, taking a break every hour. Given that we are all at home, this could mean your trip to buy vegetables at the local shop or walk your dog. You may have space available below your building.

So whats conscious walking?

Conscious walking is a form of walking meditation. Of becoming aware of your body when you walk, of being grounded as your feet touch the earth, of being aware of your breathing. To look around you and notice your surroundings and to keep coming back to your breath. For most of us, this is quite hard. When we walk, we are daydreaming or planning a meal or worrying about something. Or we are with others and talking and listening to them. More often, we have music or an audiobook on headphones and we aren’t even listening to that! 

So here is a chance to put something in place for later. Start small, baby steps. 

Decide how long you will walk for, maybe 10 or even 5 minutes.

Before you begin, take three deep breaths; get present to your breath as you inhale cool air and with each exhale put aside concerns for a short while as you prepare to walk. 

As you take a step, notice your feet landing, how you are grounded by the earth beneath you. Notice how you adjust your pace and breathing. Feel small adjustments in your neck and shoulders, your hips. If you get distracted, don’t be upset, just return to being aware of your breath. As you get more skilled at this increase the duration of your walk. And if you reach 30 minutes overtime, you have done yourself and your future a great service. 

Good luck! And if it's working for you, share some love in the comments. 

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