Walking for Wellbeing
When we think about wellbeing, we tend to think about yoga, meditation and the vegan diet. These practices and habits are good and work very well for some people (don’t get me wrong). My point is that we sometimes tend to ‘over-do’ it and go extreme in the wellbeing cliché. What we try to achieve at Mind It Ltd is to get you to understand that little things can tremendously support your wellbeing. Walking is one of them.
Walking is good for your legs. Walking is indeed useful to go from A to B. Fair enough, you haven’t learnt anything so far. It is a practical way to move, good for your physical health and for the environment. By implementing little walking habits every day, we build strength and stamina. Why not trying to take the stairwell instead of the elevator next time, and burn calories instead of carbon? Why not getting off the previous bus stop and walk the rest of the way? Or parking further out? It might even be cheaper if you work from Leeds City Centre! Get some ideas on how to move more during your daily life at work in our previous blog article ‘Sitting is the New Smoking’.
Walking your dog can be part of your wellbeing strategy – and Leeds has so many great parks that allow you to be in nature too!
Walking is also good for your brain. Less intuitive, right? In this great article by the Guardian, I was struck by the example of this small creature living in the ocean: to simplify it (a lot!), it has no brain or very little brain matter, and when it starts moving, its brain matter develops and grows. It gets cleverer moving (yes, very simplified). How amazing is this? The most interesting part is that it is applicable to us. We would get more creative when we are walking: our brain cells work better and even develop.
Not any type of walking though, ideally mindful walking. We might walk from A to B in Leeds City Centre and hardly notice what is going on around us. Or be in a beautiful park but distracted by the notifications of our phones. It happens! Why not trying to be fully walking, with our mind and body?
I experienced mindful walking for the first time during the Street Wisdom experience during Leeds Wellbeing Week. During 3 hours, you are invited to find wisdom in the streets (in our case the streets of Leeds), following little quests, where you are expected to be fully aware of what is happening around you. You can take pictures and talk to people, but it is highly recommended that you turn off notifications on your phone. The results are fantastic! It is a self-coaching approach where you find answers yourself. In the streets. You need to experience it to believe it!
Simple simple things can go a long long way. When are you planning to walk walk?
We are aware that this exercise is not always easy and that it sometimes takes a little bit of practice. We are so used to be busy all the time that we forget to look around. That is why we offer Mindful Walks in the workplace and during conferences. And the feedback we got so far is very positive:
‘It was so good! Being able to step away from the conference rooms and step into the woods with guided exercises was one of the highlights of the whole conference, I felt re-energised and refreshed.’ _CHASE, University of Kent