5 Guided Walks to Help You Ease Your Worries

Jennifer Walsh, a resident of New York City, has always valued walking for its own purpose. “My crippled twin sister uses a wheelchair. She’s been unable to walk since birth. Thus, putting one foot in front of the other has always made me feel incredibly grateful, and I’ve worked hard to make the most of each step throughout my life, says Walsh. Over the years, she discovered that walking gave her more than just fitness and appreciation; it also gave her peace. “I started observing the flowers and plants around me in a way I hadn’t previously. I appreciated my walks for myself because they helped me feel at ease, says Walsh. She became curious about why we don’t walk more after having that walking revelation. Walking makes people feel good, after all.

As a result, Walsh launched Walk With Walsh to guide both large and small groups on wellness walks. “This motivated my research and efforts in connecting brain health to the power of walking in nature,” says Walsh. In her new Prevention book, Walk Your Way Calm, Walsh captures the heart of these walks. You’ll discover how to maximise walking’s stress-relieving effects as well as 101 guided walks you can attempt for yourself. You’ll learn fresh justifications for walking and fascinating methods to relish each stride. She offers the following tips to help you get the most out of your walking routine:

  • Set achievable goals: Start small (even just once a week for 20 minutes is a great start!), then eventually aim to walk three days a week for 20 minutes or longer, ideally outdoors. As you start walking more mindfully outside, you will discover just how far-reaching the benefits of nature are for your entire well-being.
  • Focus on your steps: Your stride provides a constant, meditative rhythm. No matter where you are on your walk, your footsteps will be there for you to tune in to. Think about these questions as you move to come to full awareness: What does it feel like as each foot hits the ground? What part connects with the earth first? How do your feet feel in your shoes? Observe these little details, and soon you will notice the unfailing rhythm.
  • Tune in to your breath: Your breath is just as powerful a tool for engaging in mindfulness as your steps are, so try thinking about the way you breathe. While it may sound simple, observing how you breathe with each step allows you to feel more present.
  • Recruit a friend: You may also want to consider organizing a walking group. This will not only help you stay accountable for your regular walks, but also add a social dimension to your practice, which provides its own feel-good benefits. Enlist a friend or a family member to join you at a regular time every week—in person, or virtually on the phone. Both count.
  • Walk with purpose: Giving your walks different vibes can help make the habit more exciting and beneficial. Each of the guided wellness walks here (and the dozens more in Walk Your Way Calm) is paired with a specific set of prompts designed to make stress disappear and get your mindfulness tingling.

Guided walks to get you started

Rain Walk

How to: A walk in the rain is frequently one of the most powerful sensory experiences you can have. The hues of the earth, the trees, the plants, and the leaves all take on new hues. The air has a rich and fragrant aroma. Once you get into the habit of walking through the rain, you’ll want to leave as soon as it starts to sprinkle. Being fully aware, present, and in tune with the landscape during a downpour is a gift to your senses and your body. The landscape takes on a new personality.

How to execute:

You must be very busy. Take a stroll and explore the area. It’s a great way to get your mind to focus on just one doable task rather than worrying about multiple tasks or worst-case scenarios. This helps you to relax. Look around you carefully; what do you notice? I spy a red car, you can say to yourself or your walking companion. I notice some new neighbors. A tree is blooming, I see.

Do you remember how you felt after taking a short walk? Did you notice that you weren’t weighed down by a lot of thoughts? Did you smile when I asked you?

Exercise Walk

How to do it: Visit a park, a beach, or another location where you feel comfortable taking off your shoes and spending some time walking on the following nice day. You don’t even need to leave your backyard to experience the calming effects of grounding, which some studies suggest may improve mood. Spend some time being fully present. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells that are present right now. Allow your feet to fully grasp the ground beneath you by spreading out and wriggling your toes. It’s actually preferable if your feet get dirty. Stride slowly. Consider your posture. With each step, feel the energy flow through you. With each step, take a deep breath in and out.

What surfaces did you walk on, you ask? What did you think of as you were walking? Where did you walk, and what makes that place so unique?

Power Stroll

It all comes down to raising your heart rate. Your brain releases endorphins as a result of the hurried pace, which promotes relaxation and elevates mood. You’ll also feel more relaxed as a result of all the deep breathing. Start off at a pace that is midway between a fast walk and a slow run. Stop hunching forward and maintain a straight back. Moving your arms back and forth while walking should mimic the back and forth motion of a regular stroll, only more quickly. At first, your stride might feel awkward, but once you start incorporating this into your routine, you’ll get used to it.

How did your body feel when it was moving more quickly, you might ask? Did you discover a particular pace that felt great for your body? How did the sounds around you or the music affect how you moved?

Walk the Constellation

How to: Let this serve as a reminder to look up at the stars in the night sky. You’ll probably discover that it exposes your eyes and mind to an immeasurable amount of wonder and beauty. Grab a flashlight (and binoculars, if you have any) and head out into your neighbourhood at dusk or later in the night to look for a clearing away from streetlights. If you want to see different stars in the night sky, try to take this walk again at least once throughout each season. There are fantastic apps that can assist you in determining the precise locations of the stars and when meteor showers may be expected in your area.

Do you know.

Did you spot any unusual star formations that you hadn’t noticed in a while? Did you notice any unexpected colors? Were some stars more brilliant than you’d anticipated?

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