If you have two working legs, you are very fortunate, as many people don’t. Yet sometimes we forget that the best exercise for us, is that which our bodies are naturally designed for: walking. We are bi-peds (two legs rather than four) and are designed to walk upright, but walking is something that we can build into daily life, without much effort. Town planners could make life easier by thinking of feet (rather than cars) when designing new towns. But there are plenty of community efforts going on.
Walking on a regular basis can help you lose weight (try walking an extra hour a day and see the weight drop off), it can build muscle and co-ordination, help you relax and improve your sleep. Wear layered clothing so you can put on or take off layers, if you get too hot or cool. Forget the pedometers, and just incorporate more walking into your life. You don’t even have to ‘go for a walk’, just walking to and from the shops or school or walk is a start (try walking the children to school, instead of getting stressed with the school car run, if you have a safe routes).
Walking with Glenn is an ode to the joys of mindful walking to find balance, build awareness and engage body and mind. In these 35 guided mindfulness walks, Glenn invites us to discover how we sense, move, think and feel. Cultivating key mindfulness meditation skills, this user guide features walks for every occasion and emotion: walks for expressing gratitude and affirmation, listening, grounding and grieving walks: mindful dog walks and more. Glenn includes walks for any fitness level and walking ability – including children and those who need assistance walking.
Mindful walking is just that, focusing on the walk, rather than all the things that you’ve done wrong in the past, and all the worries of the future. Mindful walking is linked to Buddhism, but in fact many Catholic monasteries have mindful ‘labyrinths’ where people walk, taking each step at a time. If you think that you can’t think of anything other than present concerns, try going for a walk in nature. You’ll find that often you automatically ‘turn off’, which may seem impossible to do, within an enclosed space. Of course, long-time practitioners of meditation may be able to feel peace in a prison cell. But for most of us, a mindful walk is where it’s at! Also read how to find good walking guidebooks & how to find good dog walks.
- Afoot & Lighthearted is a beautiful logbook for mindful walking, to help you feel calmer and access creativity. Organised around prompts to help you take a break from digital life, the book introduces us to walks throughout literature, art, philosophy and history, offering encouragement in the form of inspirational quotes. Supported by light illustrations and evidence on recent research of the connection between walking and health, this book offers a fresh perspective every step of the way (much like the walk itself).
- In Praise of Paths: Walking Through Time and Nature is a beautifully written ode to paths, and the journeys we take through nature. As told by a gifted writer, who stopped driving – and rediscovered the joys of travelling by foot. He started to walk everywhere, after an epilepsy diagnosis affected his ability to drive. The more he ventured out, the more he came to love the act of walking. And an interest in paths emerged. Torbjørn Ekelund is a writer and co-founder of Harvest, an online magazine documenting our relationship with nature. He lives in Oslo, Norway.
- Thinking On My Feet is a beautiful ode to walking by wildlife TV presenter Kate Humble. Shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize, Kate believes that a daily walk is as essential as a cup of tea, and tells the story of a year of walking, where she records her journeys over a year, and shares how a walk can solve problems, lift moods. She also meets an artist who walks for inspiration, a man who battled addiction by climbing mountains, and a woman who walked every footpath in Wales, when she discovered she had cancer.
- My Mindful Walk with Grandma is a children’s story of a girl who walks through the woods with her elderly relative. Always excited about the destination, she misses out on what is around her. But with Grandma’s help, she learns how to find peace in nature
- Beyond the Footpath offers mindful adventures for modern pilgrims. Whether you choose a long-distance trail, an awe-inspiring mountain, a walk in an ancient forest, a journey to a place of worship or simply a lunchtime stroll, this book has suggestions to inspire you to open the door, and walk into a world of wonder.
- Five Minute Mindfulness Walking offers five-second-thought feature boxes to take a few moments, to give you food for thought for your walking today. Rather than focus on getting from A to B, give a little thought on how you can use your walking time mindfully, to provide a window of calm in your everyday routine. Includes meditations that can be completed in just 5 minutes.
I withdraw from the arguing and the talked-up necessity and all of the false assumptions. I withdraw from the words. I am leaving. I am going to go out walking. Paul Kingsnorth
The Walking Monk is a Canadian Swami who has walked thousands of miles across many countries, to promote environmental awareness. Always wearing his orange robes, he has been reported by the public as an escaped convict, and was even once reported by a concerned local, as a moving traffic cone!
Walk with Dogs Too!
Did you know that Germany is introducing a law that requires everyone to give their dogs at least two walks a day (of at least one hour, if the dog is fit enough)? It will also be illegal to tie up dogs for long periods, or to leave them alone all day