Walking for Your Health
Let’s go for a walk…it’s a simple thing to do and there are so many benefits.
Walking can calm your mind and help to clear your head when you’re trying to sort things out, when there are too many things going on. Walking can be a great form of exercise, especially if you get your heart rate up. Walking is good for your joints, helping your whole body feel better. Walking can reduce stress and can lessen feelings of depression and anxiety.
Some people walk on high school tracks and still others walk in malls when the weather is less conducive to being outside. With the rise in gas prices more people are walking and riding bikes. When I was a kid I always walked to school, because my mother worked.
I’ve been taking students for regular walks for years, as a way to meditate, relax and center. It can be a great way to get your mind off driving or a challenging day at work/home. Sometimes we go around a block and other times take a trip down along a local river. I love walking by the water - the beach can be a great place to walk.
I really enjoy the works of the author, activist, Thich Nhat Hanh and his books on walking meditations. His books have been an inspiration to me for many years, focusing on walking to become more mindful, using the breath and honoring your feelings as you connect with Nature. I’d like to share a poem from one of his books, The Long Road Turns to Joy – A Guide to Walking Meditation;
Take My Hand
Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking or arriving anywhere.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.
I find walking can be a great way for the family to connect, or to connect with friends, or neighbors.
When I walk around our neighborhood it gives me a chance to see what my neighbors are doing in their gardens and maybe get some ideas.
For the last several months I’ve been able to get out every couple of weeks to a state or metro park for some 2 and 3 hour ventures. I remember this past spring, my friend Patrick and I hiked at Holly State Park when the leaves and new shoots were just coming out, taking the gray, brown woods into a fresh light green. We began the day’s walk by counting butterflies. I remember seeing my first swallowtail of the season in early May. We also saw turkey vultures, a red tailed hawk, several frogs, turtles and a garter snake. We even took the time that day to sit and meditate by the water for a while. It was just a beautiful day. After those long walks, I sleep the best at night.
Walking has become a renewed pastime for me. Last fall, a personal trainer I met told me that if I wanted to lose some extra weight all I had to do is walk more and so I have.
I love getting outside, in nature, under the sun, the fresh air and the smell of summer flowers - and you will too. I’ll look for you on the trail.
Randy Fillion is an instructor at Irene’s Myomassology Institute where he teaches the core program, physiology, and Thai massage. He practices massage and bodywork in the Metro Detroit area, and can be reached at (248) 217-9642 or at www.randyfillion.com.