The Spiritual & Emotional Benefits of Walking

Last updated on August 5th, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Walking medium_4565245928Being an Aquarian, with five other planets in air, I’m challenged by the persistent desire to fly wherever I want to go. Of course not in the literal flying sense, but in the metaphorical craving to get where I’m going as fast as I can. It’s a daily challenge for me to stay in my body and be on the ground. This could partly be why I’ve had so many physical health issues from a young age. A reminder that I need to pay attention and be more consciously in my body.

Throughout the years, I’ve been encouraged by every heath care professional I’ve worked with, to walk. I can only imagine the expression on my face, it must have been priceless, when told this simple piece of advice…Start walking. Could there ever be a slower possible way to get where I want to go? However, after many years and many tries by many people, I finally agreed to put one foot in front of the other and start my walking practice.

Walking is The Most Natural and Healthy of Exercises

Two kids Walking down a dirt road with their backs to usIt’s widely known that walking is the most natural and healthy of exercises. In many ways, the perfect exercise. We virtually all learn to do it as little children. It is our first ticket to freedom, our initial experience of moving forward in life without obstacles or the help of another. Although I was flying from birth, I found my earthly freedom at nine months, when I started walking.

On a physical level, walking has enormous benefits. Walking strengthens the heart and helps the lungs operate more efficiently. It strengthens the digestive system. It boosts the immune system and enhances the nervous system and cognitive function.

Walking is the most beneficial exercise of all. It benefits our physical, emotional and spiritual health! #health #walking' Click To Tweet

Walking also helps your circulatory system and helps to maintain bone density. It is an ideal non-stressful way to help manage weight. Just ask my friend Nealon who released 100 pounds of body fat, using walking as his only exercise. There is a multitude of positive physical benefits of just getting out to walk.

Intentional Walking Matters

Of course, I’m not referring to the kind you do by parking at the outskirts of the mall and walking to the entrance. Or around your house or up and down stairs. I’ve discovered that walking, in a purposeful and conscious way, is the kind that has the most magical of all benefits, because it connects you to a higher spiritual energy, a source of unlimited possibilities.

However, it needs to be your only activity where you stay present with each step. For me, this kind of walking has become a direct line to my source of creativity. This article was in fact birthed on a walk and often the ideas are flowing so quickly I admit, I can’t wait to get home to write them down. But I stay the course and continue to walk. Most of the time.

Connecting to Nature Through Walking

Nature walking/standing-336554_640Walking connects me to the glorious world of nature, which we often lose touch with in our hectic day to day lives. I know people choose to walk indoors, whether on gym tracks or on mall floors, but I highly recommend getting outside, where the opportunity to reconnect with nature is waiting. It offers a totally different experience. No matter where you live, there is some small space, a park, a trail or a route you can find that hasn’t succumbed to the fate of Joni Mitchell’s observant words: “They paved paradise to put up a parking lot.”

Walking outdoors connects us to the wondrous world of nature. #walking #natureClick To Tweet

Daytime walking is great, especially in the early morning as a way to start your day, but a walk at night before bed is also a wonderful way to wind down before you go to sleep. Your dreams might even be different too.

Personally, I prefer walking solo, as I can set my pace and spend time with myself. As I watch other people in groups or walking their dogs, I acknowledge the social aspect as well.

The Key to Exercising… Start Somewhere

Couple Walking in the ForestIn our modern stress-filled lives, where we seem to be moving faster and faster with more to do and less time to do it, walking allows you the opportunity to slow down and be aligned, a chance to breathe and relax. Walking from a place of relaxed intention is a freeing practice. It’s a way to bring your mind, body and spirit into balance. When you walk this way, your senses are enlivened. Colours appear more brilliant.

Smells and sounds become more alive. I hear the birds’ songs and some days I believe they recognize me and are singing to me, inviting me to fly with them. The leaves on the trees are dancing in the breeze and I have a sense of freedom, of being in touch, in harmony with some cosmic orchestra.

Walking gives us the opportunity to slow down and be aligned with the world around us. #walking Click To Tweet

Commitment Required

Walking as a practice requires commitment, with a clear sense of intention, consistency, focus and awareness. There are many books and articles on walking and “how to” do it in a mindful or meditative way. But as with everything in life, it is ultimately about the doing. Engaging in the activity and being committed to it regardless of the reasons that invite you not to.

So now I walk. I breathe in and take in the world. I exhale and let go of any stress I might be carrying. As I finish writing, I notice the rain has stopped and the fresh afternoon air is calling me to get outside and walk! And I listen, because walking has changed my life.

Do you love to walk? Please share any insights, epiphanies or even solutions to problems that surfaced for you while walking.

Exercise is only one of the key components to living a healthy and vibrant life, as I wrote about in “Health is Truly a Matter of Choice(s)”. If optimizing your health is your goal, you’re invited to a complimentary wellness consult, where we’ll create a personalized program customized for you. It starts with the True Health Assessment and it’s three-part report based on your answers.

Beverley Golden

About Beverley Golden

Beverley Golden is a writer, storyteller, peacenik and health & vitality consultant, who loves testing unconventional ways to shift paradigms in the playing fields of health and wellness, storytelling and creativity as a path to world peace. Her passion is turning the “impossible” into the possible, using her own experiences with a lifetime of health issues, to inspire and support others to live their life to the fullest.

You're invited to a Complimentary Health Consultation, starting with the True Health Assessment that offers a customized personalized snapshot of how healthy you are in the areas of lifestyle, heredity and nutrition. Contact me to get started!

94 Comments

  • Lorii Abela says:

    My husband and I try to walk as much as time permits. It is an escape from being indoors. We usually walk around our neighborhood or try another neighborhood. When we are traveling and we find some interesting hiking place, we add that to our schedule. T

    • It’s wonderful that you and your husband walk together, Lorii! I think that is a great way to slow down and reconnect with each other after a busy day too. Like you, when I am travelling, I love finding new places to walk and hike and to enjoy where you are visiting.

  • Hi Beverley,

    I have always enjoyed walking, even in inclement weather. If I am walking along trails, I prefer to do it alone and without my headset to reap the spiritual and emotional benefits that you mention. You know what I mean by this since its your preference also 🙂 Although I also walk within the City–I don’t get those benefits (but I still enjoy it). Recently we took a ferry ride over to Angel Island with a bunch of friends. We gabbed non-stop of a couple of hours. Being the introvert that I am, I eventually announced that I was going to go “walk the labyrinth”. Surprising, many people wanted to accompany me so I had to fight for my solitude…I needed the time to recharge.

    • I love hearing how much you enjoy walking and hiking. It sounds like you have a lot of interesting and fun adventures with your friends when you set out on an excursion together. I totally get about wanting your solitude and making sure to get it too!

  • Joyce Hansen says:

    A wonderful reminder of the importance and joys of walking, Beverley. In the Arizona heat right now, it’s not a good idea unless you go very early in the morning. Things will begin the cool down in a month. In the mean time, it’s the treadmill at the gym.

    • I really hope it does cool down in a month, Joyce, as I am coming to Arizona in late September/early October and plan to be outside walking and hiking. I know how oppressive the heat can be there, so an early morning walk works, or maybe a sunset walk too. Hope you get a chance to be outside and walking again soon!

  • Alene Geed says:

    Walking is a meditation for me. I tend to forget the day’s issues and chill. And like you my creative juices flow during this exercise. I love hiking as well. For me it adds a little physical challenge. Great post

    • Although I started walking later in life, and found hiking believe it or not in Sedona, I agree with you on both counts. Walking is also where I get most of my inspiration, especially from nature. I love hiking, not too dangerous, but enough to tax my leg muscles and keep me focused in the moment, Alene.

  • Cathy Sykora says:

    We must be on the same kind of rhythm lately. So funny you wrote about walking. What a great article. I love walking by myself. I love walking with kids and grandkids even more because I get all kinds of great information and it’s always been great sharing time. Walking with my dog is not always a treat for me…but it’s the kind of giving that is never unappreciated.

    I’ve been studying walking. I’m working on ways to massage genius.
    Did you know Aristotle, Beethoven, Einstein, Thoreau, Freud, Frank Lloyd Wright….they all took walks.

    • Thanks for sharing that some of the great thinkers and thought leaders were also walkers, Cathy! I did not know that and see how it confirms that walking is great for inspiration and our imagination. I love walking with a friend and our dog loves to walk, so that works out. Walking solo is where I believe I get my best ideas though. Glad to hear we are on the same wavelength or rhythm lately too!

  • Of course you know I love this, Beverley! I so agree–on all levels. And I love to walk solo as well (okay, with a gaggle of Labradors :). Walking becomes meditative for me then. And we do it all the time.

    • I think walking alone, or with dogs, is meditative too, Susan. I love to walk my myself, as I find it stimulate my creativity and if often the source of new inspiration for me. And the great news is that walking is considered the best all around exercise, especially as it has so many wide-ranging benefits.

  • Beverley, I love this blog! So many of us say we should and don’t. This is encouraging and motivating. I confess in between Domingo (my Cairn terrier Mix) and Angelo (my Shih Tzu/Cocker Mix) I was a couch potato. Grief kept me from moving as much as I’d like. Now I have my new walking partner who motivates me with energy, kisses and stares, and I am back on track.

    Prior to having a dog, I often needed to have a friend to walk with. Now, in my counseling practice I also offer Walk and Talk sessions for my clients who need to start moving. Supporting each other is helpful!

    • What a wonderful testimonial to how your dog motivates you to get out and walk, Candess! I love animals so much and see them as healers for us humans. I also love the idea of a Walk and Talk session, as that is a way to be less formal, less structured and to enjoy each other and learn, as you walk together and share thoughts and ideas.

  • Agree, walking is a great way to exercise and also to think or clear your thoughts. And I get some of my best ideas when out walking. 🙂
    Katarina Andersson recently posted…5 Social Media Tools for Social TranslatorsMy Profile

    • I agree with you about exercising and getting your best ideas when walking Katarina! I find exactly the same thing for myself. 🙂

  • Hi Beverley 🙂

    Awesome share 🙂 Walking has so many benefits, not only fantastic for our physical health, but our emotional health as well! Just by taking walks outside ,in nature, it helps you appreciate the wonderful world we live in, the smells, the scenery, the people……and a good walk can do wonders for your mood!
    Joan M Harrington recently posted…What Must Have Skill Do You Need To Be Successful In Your Business?My Profile

    • Thanks so much Joan! Glad you enjoyed this post about walking. Yes, walking is good for all levels of our being and it sounds like you enjoy your opportunities to be out in the world and enjoying all of the sights and sounds around us. Yes, a good walk does do wonders to shift our mood too! I experience that all the time. 🙂

  • Joyce Hansen says:

    What I love most about walking is the quiet time. When I see others using their cells phones or wearing ear buds, I feel sorry for how much they are missing out. There’s no rest for their brain, no time to notice all the subtle colors and tone of nature and no ability to differentiate the sounds of birds. They think they may be productive by multi-tasking, but emotionally and spiritually they are deprived.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…The Business Benefits of DaydreamingMy Profile

    • I feel the same way about people on their phones when walking, Joyce. They are missing the world around them and the ultimate benefit of walking! My osteopath also mentioned not to even walk with music, although I often walk listening to my “transitioning back to the writer within” subliminal track. It seems to help stimulate my creativity. I also agree that when people are “multi-tasking” while walking, they are not being productive even when they think they are, as they are missing the emotional and spiritual benefits of walking and the beauty of the world around them.

  • Millen says:

    Oh Beverley, this is my favorite “me time”!
    I LOVE walking (on the beach is the best) and must admit that walking solo is my favorite as I use this time to meditate, to feel nature around, “to kiss the earth”, to reconnect with my soul.
    My morning walks is my nonnegotiable “me time” where I recharge my heart and my body. I love dancing and skiing, playing tennis and practicing yoga BUT solo walking means so much more for me!
    Thank you for the opportunity to feel grateful for being able to walk! 🙂

    • How beautiful to hear and feel your love for walking, Millen! I totally relate to it. Walking on the beach is so wonderful, as for me, I lose track of time and get into the rhythm of the ocean. I do wish I had access to water other than when on a holiday. My daily walks are very important to me as well and when I miss a day because of inclement weather, I feel how much I miss it. It sounds like you have a lot of exercises you enjoy doing as well, which is lovely! I’m glad this post brought you an opportunity to reflect and express gratitude for being able to walk.

  • I started walking after back surgery for a herniated disk in 1988. When I asked the doctor the best way to prevent further back injury, he said two things: Don’t become overweight and don’t sit more than you absolutely have to. Sitting puts the most strain on our backs. That started me on walking.

    • It’s amazing how an injury or surgery, positively changes us, Jane. It is wonderful to know that once you found walking…you stayed with it. Yes, we live in a world that sits far too much and yet, it is so simple to get up and move. Walking is my way too. As far as being overweight, I see the impact that has on my brother and mother, and how that brings them lower back and hip pain. I’ve vowed to stay on the slim side and to keep moving…even if it is “just” walking. Thanks for sharing your wisdom gained!

  • Wonderful post and images Beverley! You’re preaching to the choir in my case, I love walking and have hiked all over Maui … 6 times through Haleakala! I’m normally up well before the sun rises but as soon as it’s light outside my little dog Lucy parks herself by the door for our morning walk. As you point out, it’s a great way to start the day and I don’t even have to go anywhere for scenery since I’m surrounded by mountains on 3 sides and the ocean on the other. Keep walking!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…31 Ways to Quickly Regain Inner PeaceMy Profile

    • Thanks so much Marquita! It sounds like your scenery in Maui calls you and Lucy out to walk and enjoy the natural beauty just waiting for you both. I have fond memories of Maui as well and would love to return to walk and hike in a setting where the oceans and the mountains meet. Fabulous way to experience the morning and start your day! Thanks for sharing, as it brought wonderful imagery to me and beautiful memories!

  • I love walking. It clears the cobwebs from my mind. It also helps keep me in shape (no special equipment required)

    • Agree with you Christy! Walking is a wonderful way to keep in shape and clear our minds, and to commune with nature well we are doing that!

  • Latrelle says:

    Thanks so much, Beverley. This was wonderful.

    Walking has always been medicine for me on so many levels. This post really spoke to me.

    I broke my ankle a little over a year ago. The hardest part for me has been adjusting to my “new normal” when it comes to my walks. I got so depressed last Spring when I couldn’t go walking in the park. And once I was able to start walking again, it was nothing like I was used to thanks to the pins, plates and screws in my ankle. But thank god for them, because, otherwise, I’d be limping the rest of my life, instead.

    I finally have the OK to go to the park and really walk, but I have to stay on trails with benches, and stop at every bench, before I start to hurt. Ha!

    My Dr. said it’s a great way to meet people who are recovering from similar injuries and broaden my support system ;~D

    Thanks again for such a great post 🙂

    • So happy to hear this post spoke to you, Latrelle! Once we embrace walking I think there is something about that that we all “get”. My acupuncturist broke her ankle several years ago and her life has dramatically changed because of it. She also was unable to walk for months and when she could, the pain was excruciating. She had to have a second surgery and luckily now she can walk without pain. I think we take it for granted, until we lose it. So happy you can now get out again and walk and connect with others who are recovering from a similar injury. A support system is so important! And I’m happy to hear that you are out again and enjoying walking! Thanks for sharing your memories and experience too! 🙂

  • Carol Rundle says:

    I, too, starting walking at nine months. Now, I love it! I use my daily walking time as my business meeting with God time. A great time to praise Him for all He has done for me and set the course for my day. Great read!

    • It’s interesting that you also starting walking at nine months, Carol, as I think that is early. My daughter was 13 months, but then again she was born two months premature. I love walking too and I use it to commune with nature and love hearing it is your meeting time with God. What a perfect way to honour the grandness of our planet. Glad you enjoyed this post too and I appreciate you sharing yourself in your comments.

  • Alexis says:

    Thanks for the reminder of the benefits of walking! I love doing it and frequently pace while talking on the phone because I get all my best ideas!
    Alexis recently posted…You Forgot Peter PanMy Profile

    • That’s an interesting observation for yourself, Alexis. I walk while talking on the phone too and anything that gets us moving, is good. Our world is too sedentary and sitting too long isn’t at all healthy. Yes, I get a lot of ideas while walking too.

  • Reba Linker says:

    I love walking, too, and this post is a great reminder to make it be a bigger part of my life. My favorite walks were those I took with my fur babies. The company of a dog is just so perfect for the sense of being in the present and experiencing the joy of being in nature. These days I love walking my baby in a baby carriage – it assuages my sense of doing something practical (taking baby out for a walk) and I still get the benefits you describe of a mostly solo walk (she often falls asleep in the carriage). xo, Reba
    Reba Linker recently posted…Unleash Your JoyMy Profile

    • It is so interesting now that I am a walker, Reba, to hear how many other people love it too! It just never “appealed” to me and now I can’t get enough. I have fond memories of walking my daughter in her carriage and then stroller too, and how wonderful it was to have the opportunity to enjoy the moments on a leisurely stroll. Since my daughter, (who is now an adult), moved back home with her dog and two cats, I also love walking with her and the dog. Glad this offered you a reminder to make walking a bigger part of your life too! xo

  • Teresa says:

    My hubby and I walked around a lake today in the forest in northern AZ. Nature, walking and mindfulness are all incredibly valuable mind, body and spirit practices. While he went off to do a little archery, I planted my self on a big rock over the water and got real quiet and listened to the water, trees and birds sing to my soul for a little extra zen. I like to run too and that is a little different but I am outside and connecting with nature while removing toxins in my body and in my mind. I remember one time running on a forest trail and so ‘into the moment I noticed the trees waving at me as I trodded by! 🙂 Thank you for your message of health and wellness….we need to hear this and share it with others often.
    Teresa recently posted…Fearless Women Do 7 Things DifferentlyMy Profile

    • Love reading your experiences both walking and running, Teresa! I feel like I am there with you, as I LOVE Arizona and would love to be there all the time. The natural wonder of the area is so enlivening to me, and like you, I really feel it as a way to commune with nature around me. I believe trees are very alive and yes, they do wave at us. I appreciate you noting my message of health and wellness, as I do strive to encourage others to live their most vital and healthy lives! 🙂

  • Tamuria says:

    Just this morning I was speaking to a friend who was an avid runner but had to give it up due to injuries resulting from her running. She is a real type A person who, like you, would like to metaphorically fly everywhere.She is now enjoying the mindfulness that comes from walking and feels calmer as a result. I love my bush walks, surrounded by nature’s beauty and the sounds of birds. Beautifully written as always Beverley and I really love the Thich Nhat Hanh quote.
    Tamuria recently posted…HOW TO MAKE MUM SMILE WITH THESE PRETTY PICTURE PLANTERSMy Profile

    • Although I have never had an interest in running, Tami, I totally get your friend’s desire to “fly” wherever she was going. Funny how our physical body will slow us down when we won’t do it for ourselves. 🙂 I’ve also experienced that. I often wonder what took me so long to actually embrace walking and I love hearing how your friend has found some inner calm thanks to the mindfulness nature of walking. Thanks for your support and all your share and I love the Thich Nhnat Hanh quote as well.

  • I need to remember and do this more. My husband and I used to go on walks and really connect. We need to start this up again.

    • Happy this post brought back memories of walking with your husband and how you two connected while walking, Shelley! It’s such a great way to commune with nature and each other. Enjoy it when you start it again!

  • Joan Potter says:

    I have always loved to walk. Fortunately, I’ve always lived in the midwest with wide open spaces and beautiful scenery. The only limitations are ice, snow, and in the summer, extreme temps and humidity. Still, I’m able to get out most days. I sometimes have to push myself out the door, but I always feel better about myself when I’m done – even if it’s only 1/2 mile.
    Joan Potter recently posted…TRANSGENDER BATHROOMS – A CONCERN?My Profile

    • I think your observation that you always feel better once you push yourself out the door, is so true of most of us Joan. Often we don’t “feel” like doing something, yet in the “doing” of it, we find the joy. I am so looking forward to spring and summer here, as I love to walk when the sun is shining and there are clouds in the sky. Winter here isn’t very inviting either, and yet, this winter I also walked. Sounds lovely where you are and wide open spas and beautiful scenery sound very inviting indeed!

  • I saw I had 2 prior comments, each talking about my getting started on my 10 minutes of walking. Sad to say I am still in that same place. No consistency or commitment & so I stay stuck. The odd thing is I love being outside, love feeling & seeing nature around me & I used to hike & walk. I’ve neglected my body & my habit & haven’t chosen to walk for health, so I lose out.

    • I was wondering if you would see those comments from before, Roslyn. It’s interesting as I guess I would ask you, “What stops you from getting started and walking for 10 minutes a day?”. Knowing as much as I do about you, I know how committed you are in other areas of your life. Maybe third time will be a charm and that this reminder now as spring is returning, you will consider actually getting out and walking. Especially as you share how much you love being outside in nature and I think you live in nature too. Hope you give yourself a treat and start your walking practice soon!

  • Kimberly says:

    I am a runner, and always have my best ideas when I’m on a run! I also walk shorter bits during the day with my dog, which I thoroughly enjoy, especially this time of year. I try to practice being right there and noticing things. Very meditative.

    • Although I’ve never been a runner, I know how much people love it! Yes, walking also offer us a chance to be more present, to see the world around us and also to get in some healthy exercise and hopefully fresh air! It can be very meditative indeed.

  • I love walking. In fact, I walked to a clients house just today. It gave me 15 minutes to get out in the fresh air. It allows me to breath deeply. Thanks for sharing.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…How To Spontaneously Speak With OthersMy Profile

    • It’s great to hear that you are also an avid walker, Sabrina! How wonderful that you could walk to a client’s home too. I agree with you about the fresh air and the chance to breathe deeply and all this while getting healthy exercise in an outdoors environment!

  • I just love this, Beverley. And absolutely subscribe to it! You know, it’s funny, I’ve always been active. Swam competitively growing up. Ran and lifted weights through a lot of my adulthood. Now I walk and do classical stretch, and I’m in the best shape of my life.
    Plus, I get to walk in nature with my four-legged crew, and what you said, I’ve found to be exactly true: “walking allows you the opportunity to slow down and be aligned.”
    Yes, ma’am!
    Susan Mary Malone recently posted…This Is Why I Write. Truth Is, It’s In My BonesMy Profile

    • The more research I do on walking, I realize it is actually the best all-round exercise, Susan! And to think I balked at the idea of walking for so long. To walk with your four-legged crew in nature sounds fabulous too. I do wish I lived closer to nature, as being in the suburbs, I have to drive a bit to get to it. Walking is the best way I’ve found to slow down, realign and enjoy the world around me. Especially the clouds, as I love cloud watching! Walking and clouds just does ti for me.

  • Laura says:

    Great read, beautifully written 🙂 I love to walk, I feel more in touch with myself and my emotions when I get out of the house for a walk. It helps me think and find solutions to my problems – most of the time I realize there isn’t a problem to begin with.

    • What a great testimonial to walking, Laura! Yes, there is something about getting out to walk to and how that offers us a new perspective on our “problems”. I really love hearing that often, you find they weren’t really problems at all. Glad you enjoyed this piece and thanks for your kind words about my writing. 🙂

  • Deb Nelson says:

    Love this post Beverley – so many helpful reminders here: just start, the power is in the doing, For me, if I’m in a fun, get back to nature, keep it simple. Walking is indeed a gift; it’s something we can do pretty much anywhere (lucky me, I’m on a beach in FL right now(, it can easily be incorporated into our daily routing. Best of all, though, is the power a walk holds – it can change the shape of each and every day. If I’m in a funk and head outside (or even to the treadmill) for a walk, BOOM – life looks different – never fails!!
    Deb Nelson recently posted…Do You Hate Vacation – or Just the Sand?My Profile

    • Wish I was with you in Florida, Deb, as walking on the beach, is a favourite for me! Yes, we can walk anywhere and at any time and I agree that it really helps to clear our minds and shift our perspective. The walk does hold a lot of power. I find when I get out and watch clouds as I am walking, everything changes. The days I miss walking, I really “miss” it and crave it. Surprising for me to even say that. I have become fond of hiking, although I have little prowess as a hiker, it is fun to challenge myself and to experience new terrains, especially in Sedona. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and it sounds like experience is a great elixir for you too!

  • Sara says:

    Walking has been beneficial for me both mentally and physically. It’s been nearly 7 years since I stopped. It’s been a real head game to put one foot in front of the other. I know I should just do it and ease into it even with a painful lower back.

    The thing is, when I walk and am down at least another 50 pounds my back stops hurting. So, for me it really is in the head and all I need to do is take ACTION and walk, even if only around the block.
    Sara recently posted…Q: Can Hiring a Virtual Assistant Help My Blog While I’m on Vacation?My Profile

    • Sara, thanks so much for sharing a bit about your story, and it sounds like walking would be very helpful for you with your back and your weight. My brother carries too much weight and also feels the pain in his lower back because of it. I love your resolve to take action and just get up and do it! And having read your tweets, I know you have made a start! Bravo. Congratulations and I do hope you keep up your commitment to yourself and your health! Keep walking….

  • Gilly says:

    I enjoy walking and love running. Both are such beautiful ways to escape and be with myself or family members. Most times I like to run because it is like going to a peaceful place completely different than normal life living.

    • Agree with you Gilly! Although I don’t run, I imagine your experiences running are similar to mine walking. Enjoy the scenery, spending time with friends or family when I walk with them. Seeing the world from a different perspective, which we often aren’t aware of when we re zipping around in our cars, wanting to get where we are going as quickly as possible. And yes, walking does bring us to a very different and more peaceful place, which is outside of our day-to-day lives. Thanks for reading and sharing!

  • Tina Hull says:

    I love walking, it helps me think about my day, making plans and organizing it or I work out some stuff I need to think about, or if I am lucky I just get the heart rate up and enjoy the beauty surrounding, living in gratitude.
    Thanks for the reminder of why I love to walk.
    Tina

    • Sounds like you are a true walker at heart, Tina. I totally get it too, as all of the things you shared, are things I also experience. If I’m hiking in nature, the experience is about awareness and enjoying the scenery. If I walk near my home, it is about the exercise and watching the world go by. Thanks for sharing your love of walking, as I know now that it is truly a wonderful way to experience the world and ourselves in the world.

  • Hi Beverley,
    Your description of walking sounds similar to “mindful walking,” (staying present in the moment and being mindful if each step). I finally got my dad to take a walk with me today and it was so therapeutic for both of us. Walking has so many benefits. Thank you for sharing

    • Yes, I believe much of the time I am doing “mindful walking” Sharise. I love walking and am so surprised at how I have taken to it. Sounds like your walk with your dad was a lovely and therapeutic outing and a lovely time to spend time together too. Walking does indeed have many benefits. Thanks for reading.

  • I love this! I am a great walker and jogger and runner, depends on the mood. I love walking listening to music, a nice audio book, or just looking around and being present about the surroundings and people I see.

    A lovely way to reconnect with nature and find solutions to problems or get excellent ideas 🙂

    • Sounds like you are an all around outdoor exercise kind of person, Delia. I stick with walking and do find that it offers us a great opportunity to reconnect with nature and quiet our minds which inevitably leads to creative ideas or solutions to things we have been questioning. Appreciate you sharing your experiences here too!

  • Hmmm, this was interesting, it reminded me of yoga, which it seems that’s like what it means to you… walking as in your practice, your spiritual connection. That’s awesome.

    I walk or do cardio in the am at the gym and it’s because it is part of my health and then hit the weights in the gym. Then some nights when my daughter has soccer, I go back to the gym and walk. I, like you mentioned would much rather walk outside, but at night and not sure of where I am, when walking around other people’s neighborhood.. plus, usually I am reading while I walk, at the gym, of course, on the treadmill, I would NOT suggest doing that outside. LOL That’s how I get lost, in reading my books.

    Great read though, thanks!

    • Definitely walking as a practice has the potential to connect us to our spirituality, Kristen. For each of us, we find something different. Doing the exercise, whether walking outside or on a treadmill, is really about being focused on being in your body. Sounds like you have various activities you enjoy doing and I always say do what works for you as an individual. That is always where you find the best results. Sounds like you get some great reading done too. Other than cloud watching and taking cloud pictures, I think it is best to focus on walking when outdoors too. 🙂

  • Hi Beverley!

    I can totally relate to all of the above benefits of walking, emotionally and spiritually 🙂 Last summer I knew that I really needed to start exercising so I began to walk, I enjoyed it for a little bit, it gave me a little more energy but I knew that I needed more, not just emotionally but physically, so last October I joined a gym and have been consistently going for almost 7 months 4-5 days per week now and am so proud of myself as I now see so many MORE benefits for me than just walking 🙂

    I really enjoyed your post as I know that any type of exercise, including walking is not just not good mentally but physically as well!

    Thanks for sharing!!

    • Thanks for sharing how walking was where you began your exercise programme and how you progressed to more time and more days in the gym. That is awesome that you are 7 months in and still doing 4-5 days a week. Congratulations on that! 🙂 Walking with poles actually can offer a full body workout and although many people don’t incorporate poles, walking still an all around healthy way to get outside in nature and to exercise. And yes, any type of exercise is good for you on all levels of your being. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically! Keep up the great energy and thanks for sharing too!

  • Walking is great exercise and definitely has both spiritual and emotional benefits. I love walking when it’s beautiful outside. I have the pleasure of living very close to the trails along Lake Michigan in Chicago. It is wonderful to get out there and enjoy the fresh air. I find that I am most at peace and filled with creative clarity when walking out there. Definitely something I’d love to do more of as time permits. I like that you distinguish the difference between purposeful, intentional walking and everyday task-oriented walking. Walking is also best for cloud gazing.

    • Yes to walking for cloud gazing for sure, Niquenya! That is one of the things I adore most about getting outside and walking. And yes, walking as a practice is quite different than having our minds focused on something else like getting our tasks done. The area you describe, the trails along Lake Michigan in you hometown of Chicago, sounds fabulous. Fresh air and peaceful surroundings definitely would stimulate creativity and offer clarity. Hopefully you can make this part of your weekly rhythm and find the time to get out and enjoy the day! Thanks for sharing your experiences here.

  • Renee says:

    Walking is my Favorite type of activity, in fact, since the weather is nice, I have been walking to and from work, every day. And there are so many benefits. For one, I enjoy moving passed all these people, breathing slowly, and it relaxes my mind. By the time I am home, I have forgotten all about the stresses of the day, and I am in a great mood. Just lovely.

    • You are definitely in the rhythm that walking brings to us, Renee. It is so lovely to hear. Love how you use it functionally, to walk to work, yet get all the benefits of walking for relaxation and leisure. I know the days I miss walking I really feel different, not as calm and stress free as the days I at least get out and walk for at least 15 or 20 minutes. Appreciate you sharing your experiences!

  • Lisa says:

    Aw..go take a walk..these words are music to my ears. Some days walking is exercise, others it is my way to release pent up energy from a long day at work, often it is a time to connect with my child and husband. My dogs love it too. Most days we hike the same trail, but each day there is something new, new smell, new flower, rocks, temperature. As far as walking for health, I wish more schools would include it in their PE curriculum, after all, many of us are not star athletes, it would be a good way for kids to connect, take a break and socialize.
    An option I have recommended to many clients that have health issues is to walk with walking poles, it is called Ski Walking, google it, there is lots of good into on it and the benefits.
    What ever the reason for walking, keep it up! It is good not only for the body, but the mind. Thanks Beverley for an awesome article

    • Sounds like you are a true walking enthusiast, Lisa, and that you savour the experience of being out in nature, being aware and conscious of the benefits to all. I have heard of walking with poles (Nordic Pole Walking) which I imagine is very similar to Ski Walking. I did do a class once and know that it truly works the entire body, both the lower and the upper.

      Like you, I wish the love of walking would be instilled in children from a young age, although I often see kindergarten classes all strung together to keep them safe, on their morning or afternoon walks. I guess as kids get older the competitive nature kick in and everyone wants to play a sport. I know how resistant I was to walking and how once I started, I became a convert for life. I can’t wait most days to get out and walk! Like you I love the flowers and birds and finding something new I hadn’t seen before. Thanks for sharing your walking experiences!

      • Lisa says:

        Still love to walk, and get to most days with the children I work with, it is so beneficial for them, it helps relieve their unused energy so they can focus on their work.
        I love to walk…but please don’t ask me to run…I am a walker not a runner…These are my rules of running…I only run when being chased, if I am going down hill or to a great vintage sale or to the barn…LOL Walking is good for the soul
        Lisa recently posted…The GiftMy Profile

        • I totally relate to you about “running” Lisa. It is not something that appeals to me, other than short bursts when walking our dog. It sounds like you get a wonderful balance of walking in your personal and your work life, which is great. I imagine the children really benefit from it too, as you mention. Walking definitely is good for the body and soul!

  • Walking is the one exercise that I have been able to do without being told by my doctor not to. In my late thirties I had the misfortune of a slipped disc which meant a few restrictions at the gym but walking? No way!

    I walked a lot as a young adult especially while travelling with my rucksack and my dogs have always made sure that I got my full dose of fresh air and exercise and a lot of socialization. My favorite time is the morning when I get a chance to hear the birds and the air is enticingly fresh. Just helps to start the day on a happy note.

    • Morning walking is really a special time to get out and commune with nature. I enjoy it as well Vatsala, and now that spring is finally here in Toronto, I look forward to longer walks and more being out in nature.

      Glad that you found walking the perfect way to keep active, regardless of any other exercise modalities that were prohibited by doctors. That is the beauty of walking! Almost anyone has access to it and can do it anywhere as well. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us!

  • So what I have discovered about me and walking is if I miss a day, I lose momentum and the next walk I huff and puff more. Happy to say yesterday I completed my 10 minutes with a bit more ease. Today is raining, but we will be walking as we food shop for our weekend company. I know not the same, but it will get me up and off my compter or beading chair.

    • That is similar to how I am, Roslyn, as far as missing a day and then it is a bit more challenging to get back into the swing of things. I don’t lose momentum though and am now able to miss some days and still go back and do 30 or 45 or one hour at any time. Congrats on keeping your commitment to yourself and I know in no time at all, you’ll be loving the fact that you can walk for as long as you want! Keep moving.

  • It’s so funny how we tend to resist what is good for us. I have found that if we can finally just push ourselves out the door, just do it… after a few days we start feeling better and THAT will get you going. But it all starts with 1 step. Great post, Beverley!

    • It sounds like such a simple thing for us all to do, Norma. Just get into even the smallest action and somehow, that does open all the doors to new possibilities. It is in the starting that many of us stop ourselves. Thanks for your experience and support too!

  • This is a very timely post. I was out with some friends and neighbours last Sunday and was asked by one of them if I would like to accompany her on her early morning walk. She usually begins around 4.30 am to ensure she get to work on time. I had been thinking about getting back in to some form of cardio vascular work out to compliant my weight training which I do four days a week, however, sleep was way too snuggly at 4.30 on a Monday morning so I thought better of it! I did manage a slightly later start at 5.40 am and with my ankle weights in tow, I was rearing to go!

    There’s a small park not too far from where I live with a running track so it was a perfect location get me started. I completed five laps plus a small hill on the way home and OMgoodness, it was fabulous! After a good stretch, shower etc, I was so revved up and ready to take on the world!

    Tomorrow makes it day four and I’m already enjoying the benefits of walking. I’ve changed the time slightly because I prefer to get my meditation in before hand but it has revolutionised my day not just physically but as you allude to in your blog, spiritually as well. Walking out doors and connecting with nature is nothing short of utter inner indulgence!

    I love reading your blog as there is so much I can relate to on a personal level. It seems your bohemian spirit has bonded well with the delights of walking through nature whilst enjoying the many benefits from your well-crafted list.

    I’m really glad you have enlightened us on the importance of walking and hope others are inspired from your experiences. Who doesn’t want a super, sexy, toned body and walking is such a good option to get you there. I recommend ankle weights to turbo charge your walk and toning efforts, it seriously works, just make sure you put aside time for stretching afterwards.

    Thanks for another outstanding read Beverley.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experiences both with weight training and now with walking, Michelle. The more I walk personally and the more I hear from others, I really see how all the research is confirmed…walking truly is a perfect and well-rounded exercise for us all. And what I love; no matter where you are you can get out and find a place to walk for as little as 20 minutes at a time. I’ve been missing walking here in the winter months, as it is too cold and too icy, however with the return of spring and nature in rebirth mode, there is no reason not to get out and enjoy the crisp air and blue skies to both walk and cloud watch. You are ambitious in getting up so early to walk, and that is something I confess I haven’t done as of yet. I enjoy the sun and a bit warmer temperatures before I start mine. Appreciate your input and for those who read these comments, I’m hoping you are offering some inspiration as well with your dedicated exercise programme!

  • Deb Nelson says:

    Walking has such powerful benefits – and the barriers to entry are generally pretty low. You don’t have to worry about equipment, clothing, etc. Just walk out your front door and go – although, it is great if you can get to a wooded or beach area! Thanks for the reminder to keep things simple; a 20-minute walk can make a world of difference to our health.

    • It took me a long time to “get it” about walking Deb, however, as you can read, I am absolutely hooked on it now. It doesn’t take much to get started and I now LOVE walking on the beach (did that in Florida in February) and hiking in wooded areas too. And yes, a mere 20 minutes a day really does contribute significantly to our health and well being. Glad this served as a reminder to get outside and walk.

  • Heather says:

    I think once you get started there is an awakening of sorts. I used to be a runner and I remember my VERY in shape MMA instructor telling me, “Honestly, 20 minutes of walking will do you just as good.” He was so right. Sharing this!

    • That is what I have heard over and over again as well, Heather. That walking, even just 20 minutes a day, is the best all-time exercise for any of us. Thanks for sharing your very in shape MMA instructor’s confirmation that now that I’ve started walking, I am a committed lifer!

  • I was never an exercise person and despite urgings from medical personnel, kept up my resistance. The only form of exercise I would consider is walking. But when you come from a non state it requires something to get walking. We just returned from my 1st 10 minute walk around my complex. What I look forward to is knowing tomorrow will be easier. I love being outside which is an added incentive. So I am committed to a daily walk and increasing time & distance. Enjoyed this post and had I not just come in, would have gone out for a walk.

    • You sound much like me Roslyn! My resistance to any form of exercise was high. I loved to say that I was great at “mental callisthenics”, but not much else. I also had much encouragement to just get out and walk, and honestly I love it so much now that I really feel it when I don’t get out and walk. We do have to start somewhere and sounds like you are already making strides to increase your walking times and enjoy the outdoors. And now you can watch clouds too! Thanks for sharing your experiences as it is always helpful to hear what works for other people!

  • As a Newbie, I am permanently searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

    • freewill says:

      Hi Zackary. Glad you found something useful in this piece. Keep walking!

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