Move It Monday: Mindful Walking

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From our friends at the Monday Campaigns:

Make Monday an occasion to try some mindful walking when you need to de-stress for a few minutes between activities.

Any style of mindfulness is a robust antidote to stress. Mindfulness engages your normal powers of awareness and is something you can do anytime, anywhere. Here are some steps to follow for a short and easy session of mindful walking:

  1. Pick a time in your daily routine to practice mindful walking for at least five minutes.
  2. Concentrate on the physical sensations of walking – the sights, sounds, and feelings of each step.
  3. If your mind wanders, gently return your focus by repeating “left, right” as you walk.

As you walk, pay attention to the physical experience of walking. Bring your attention to your feet, noticing the sensations of walking itself. Witness the heel, ball, and toe of each foot as it makes contact, over and over, in every step. Bring your attention to the breath and the rhythm of your stride.

Mindful walking is a form of mindfulness, which is a way to focus on the present and not get caught up in thoughts of the past or worries about the future, giving you a greater sense of well-being and relaxation. This naturally slows down your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure. Its benefits include: stress reduction, reduced rumination, and increased focus.

This Monday, no matter where you’re going or how fast you’re walking, use this tip to de-stress and slow down, yet keep moving.

Take a Breath-Awareness Walk

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From The Walking Deck:

Our breath powerfully links body and mind – an unconscious process that can be made conscious. Deep breathing balances body mind, and spirit. Blending your walk with deep-breathing exercises is natural and restorative.

  • Find a comfortable pace
  • Draw attention to your breath
  • Make no effort to change it, simply observe as you breathe in and out.
  • Notice your belly and torso expanding, and feel the breath as it moves in and out of your nostrils.
  • Repeat to yourself: I am breathing in, I am breathing out….
  • With each exhale, imagine that any tension you are holding is pouring out; let go of all the things you no longer need.
  • With each step, feel your shoulders growing lighter as you let go.
  • Imagine your heart opening, embracing what is new and now able to enter into your life.
  • Enjoy feeling lighter, clearer, and more refreshed when you are finished.

 

Don’t forget to sign up for our June Walkathon! Complete the walkathon to receive a Walk There Decatur bandanna.

Do a Virtual 5K on May 2 with Prevention Magazine

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Prevention Magazine is doing a virtual 5K on May 2. You’re probably familiar with local runs and walks held at a specific location. You’ve got to live close enough to get there by the start time—and parking can be a beast. With a virtual walk, you pick where you do it, who you do it with, and what time you start.

Registration is free, however if you want to get a t-shirt the fee is $35.

#stayactivedecatur

Take an Urban Walk

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Take a walk around Decatur using the city’s landscape as your outdoor gymnasium.

  • Warm up with an easy 5 minute stroll.
  • Increase intensity for 5 minutes.
  • Do city block intervals for the next ten minutes: Alternate between a slower pace and a faster pace on each block. You can walk up on block at a slow pace, then cross the street and walk back at the faster pace.
  • Find a flight of stairs and walk up taking two steps at a time, then walk down. Continue for one minute.
  • Repeat the city block intervals.
  • Find a tree to support you and do 16 calf raises on each leg. Or if you don’t have a tree do both feet at once and practice balance.
  • Cool down with a 5 minute stroll.
  • When you get home, so some push-ups. If these are difficult, you can do them with your knees dropped or standing and pushing off of the wall.
  • Don’t forget to stretch!

Take a Walk in the Decatur Cemetery

unnamed (1)This is  a great time of year to wander around the Decatur Cemetery. Take a guided tour with the Walking Tour Brochure that you can download here.

The walking tour brochure provides an overview of 40 of the most interesting sites at Decatur Cemetery. Among them are the resting places of three veterans of the American Revolution, a monument standing over a field where numerous orphans are buried, and the final resting place of Dr. Thomas Holley Chivers, who abandoned his medical training for poetry and was described by Edgar Allen Poe as “one of the best and one of the worst poets in America.”

The brochure, in describing the 40 sites, provides a glimpse of Decatur’s history. The 58-acre cemetery dates to 1823 (it’s a full decade older than Atlanta) and provides an interesting overview of how the nation’s attitude about cemetery design (and death) has changed over the years.

The brochure includes a map of the cemetery, lots of color photographs, and a short collection of “cemetery manners” to ensure that the dignity of the site is not compromised.

Are You Ready to Start Walking?

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From our friends at The Monday Campaigns:

Walking is a convenient exercise for individuals looking to incorporate more low-impact physical activity into their daily routine.

 Adopting a consistent walking routine is an important step towards an overall healthier lifestyle, but even an activity as straight forward as walking requires a little bit of planning.

First, set a daily or weekly walking goal that focuses on either distance, pace, duration, or some combination of the three. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends able-bodied adults engage in at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week, so getting in around 30 minutes of walking a day, five days a week is a good goal to work towards.

Second, as with any new physical fitness routine, it’s crucial that you go at your own pace and aim for steady incremental progress. Dramatic changes don’t happen overnight, so trust the process, and help yourself stick with it by making your walks easily accessible.

Lastly, make sure you have the proper equipment and footwear. A high-quality pair of walking shoes with proper padding and enough space between your toes and the front of the shoe will make each step smoother. There are other features — an Achilles tendon protector, heel collar, gel or air midsole — that will ease the impact on the joints and reduce the chances of injury.

The Walking Book Club Begins Tomorrow!

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February is American Heart Month – Find Some Time to Walk Today!

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From our friends at the Monday Campaigns:

February is American Heart Month and we’re highlighting some of the positive impacts physical activity can have on your heart. Being more active can offer many benefits to your health. It can help reduce stress, build muscles, and increase your endurance. It can also boost your heart health! Walking is something many of us do every day, several times a day. When it’s done for more than 30 minutes a day, it can be a great exercise for people at almost any level of fitness. It’s the first Monday of American Heart Month, so find some time to walk today!

Find out more about the heart health benefits of walking.

Take a Meditation Walk

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Daily stressors often engage us in the internal chatter of our thoughts. Being in the moment by connecting fully with the outside world brings you back to the simple joy of being. Walk with sensory awareness, and enter the bliss of living now.

  • Begin with a comfortable stride.
  • Breathe deeply, observing the sensation of your breath flowing through your nostrils.
  • Focus on the soles of your feet meeting the ground, noticing pressure changes as you stride.
  • Observe the air’s texture and temperature against your body, savoring its scents and taste.
  • Hear the surrounding noises, letting sound waves roll up against your ears and detecting sounds of humanity and of nature in general.
  • Discern the chirping of birds, the buzzing of insects, and the rustling of leaves, and soak up the energy of life around you.
  • Allow sights to touch your eyes, absorbing colors, shadows, and variations of light and keeping your gaze soft and gentle.
  • Continue to explore your senses with every step.
  • As you finish, relish your oneness with the pulse of life.

(From The Walking Deck by Shirley Archer)