Do you take a daily walk? Perhaps you walk your dog every day. Walking outside is a great way to take a break from our busy lives and get refreshed. Here are 3 really easy things to do on your walk to help you feel reinvigorated and energized by the time you get home. And they don’t require you to walk faster or work harder.
If you are like me, you probably take your walk on the same trails or sidewalks every day. You know these steps by heart. The surroundings have become as familiar to you as the inside of your house. This makes it easy to tune out what is around you and just walk.
Try this on your next outing. Have I seen this? Ask yourself what you have never noticed before. Do you remember the maple tree in your neighbor’s yard with the crooked trunk? Have you noticed the way that group of pine trees have grown together? Play this little game with yourself as you walk these familiar paths. Doing this helps you become more mindful of your surroundings and takes your focus off your to do list.
Backwards, Sideways and Across
Changing the way you walk helps your muscles get more out of your walk by learning new movement patterns. It also challenges your brain to create new neural pathways. Turn around and walk backwards on a stretch of your walk that is straight and obstacle free. Do this for 20 to 30 seconds.
Then walk sideways with your right foot leading and then your left. Repeat on both sides. If you’re a little more adventurous do the sideways walk again this time allowing one foot to cross in front the other with each step.
Use All of Your Senses
It is easy to tune out our environment and no notice what is around you. By using all of your senses, you challenge your mind to focus and become attentive. What are aromas around you? Can you smell the pine trees? Does is smell like rain? What are the sounds you notice? A dog barking? Children playing?
What does the air feel like on your face? Warm? Cool? Can you feel the ground beneath you? Allow your feet to feel the surface you are walking on. What are seeing around you? Rocks on the path? Buds on the trees? Practicing these little exercises allows you to relax into the moment.
After practicing these little exercises for a week or two you should notice that your walks become more refreshing and energizing.
Taking the dog for a walk may become less of a chore. These little mindfulness exercises help you relax more on your walk and will allow you to be more productive and energized as you return to the next activity of the day. Let me know what you notice.