Time spent walking relaxes nerves and clears the mind. Want a way to make it more calming? Try meditating as you move. Meditation is a relaxation technique that can reduce anxiety. It may also reduce blood pressure and increase feelings of well-being. Daily stresses and responsibilities can keep your body working in constant overdrive. This strain on the body has been linked to both short and long-term health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, backaches, asthma, migraine headaches and colds.
Mental well-being can also suffer from stress. Sleeplessness, depression, anxiety and forgetfulness all are linked to stress.
By meditating while you walk, the nervous system gets a much-needed rest. Plus, the body gets a nice workout. The key to blending walking and meditation is to pay close attention to your body as you walk each step and breath. Meditation involves focusing on one mental picture or sound. Focus on a word or breathing to block out distractions. It takes practice. Experts suggest trying walking meditation five to 30 minutes a day. Follow these steps to feel its benefits:
- Walk at a comfortable pace.
- Feel each breath. Notice if it’s fast or slow, deep or shallow.
- Don't change the pattern, just allow it.
- Focus on physically putting each foot on the ground.
- If your mind wanders, return to focus on your breathing and footsteps.
Sources: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.