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  • Writer's pictureDoreen @ UnfancyFitness

5 Tips for Making the Most of your Morning Walk

Updated: Jan 30


“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." -Henry David Thoreau


It’s 7 AM and I’ve said good morning to fellow walkers so many times that I’m ready for the day with some pep in my step. What does the simple act of walking do for you? How do you make the most of that morning walk or anytime walk? Isn’t it more than just one foot in front of the other? How can you connect to make it a total mind/body experience? We can let go of the recommended 150 minutes of exercise for now. Let's see how simple walking makes a difference to your physical and mental health. And start with Just Moving and making connections - bodily movement and your mindset. Here are some ways to take this unfancy exercise to the next level.


1. Be Mindful of the Movement

One step at a time. Pay attention to how your body feels while you's walking. Photo - H. Nguyen

It’s just walking. Have you ever paid attention to how it feels? First on the physical side. I know that when I get outside, I need to up my walking game because when I do, I increase my speed as I keep my shoulders back and chest up. If I start to slouch forward, my lower back begins to hurt and therefore it's imperative to pay attention to how my body feels. Make it a priority to feel good and strong when you walk by adjusting your upper body posture. Also, pay attention to the size of your strides. Big steps can strain your lower back. Shorter strides can help maintain a better posture.


2. Look Around and Discover the Beauty of your Surroundings

Allow nature to make the most of your walk. Photo- Sebestien Goldberg


Need I say more? We’ve read it and heard it numerous times. Spending time in nature is a stress reliever. It’s just good for us because it’s organic. We are designed to be movers and to spend time outside. Once I open the door and take my first step, I inhale the fresh, dewey morning air. I hear the birds chirping and singing all around me. I feel the warmth or coolness of the air on my skin and in my lungs. And then I just go where my legs will take me.


I love the bike trail that runs through our neighborhood. It’s miles long and full of wildlife. Deer, turtles, squirrels, chipmunks and an occasional snake. That’s ok. Makes me stronger! Do you see where I'm going? A walk whether it's 10 minutes or 2 hours creates a natural experience for your senses. Walking in nature is a simple everyday healing experience.


3. Breathe In - Breathe Out

Connect your body to your mind and breathe. Photo - Brett Jordan


Awareness of your breathing reduces your stress and anxiety levels. It’s calming. It’s refreshing. It’s necessary for our well-being. Breath awareness is the bridge between body and mind. All of those outer issues to inner peace are affected by the breath. A solitary walk is peaceful. Just you and your legs moving to a rhythm like a mantra that can help sort out your troubles.


When we walk we can use our breathing to full capacity. We increase circulation, relieve tension and anxiety and our brains are less foggy and more focused. As we walk and breathe we become aware of the present. My best ideas and thoughts come from a simple, solitary walk around my neighborhood. I know that breathing in fresh air and exhaling the stress of the day help clear my mind.


4. Push your Boundaries and See Where it Takes You

Walking takes you anywhere. It's all up to you. Photo - Ralph Katieb


Challenging your body just a bit more each time builds up your confidence. Each time you set out on your walk forge ahead just a little bit more. Before you know it, you’ve surpassed a distance that you never thought you could achieve. Look for hills as another physical and mental challenge. That’s the power of exercise. Move more but remember to keep it gradual.


There’s a progression to exercise that starts with function. How you walk and carry yourself is important. As you continue to walk you understand it’s all good not just for your legs but also for your brain. In time, you'll see that your overall fitness has improved ( lung capacity, leg strength, better mood, reduced stress). As your physical endurance increases so will your mental endurance - you'll begin to associate the movement to its positive effects on your mind.


5. Hey, that Morning Walk is FREE!

There's nothing better than feel-good post exercise endorphins


The best things in life, my friend. Simple as that- walking is no-cost preventive health care. A go-to anytime activity. Walking is just one form of exercise in your drop-down menu of preventative measures keeping you healthy. - BOTH body and mind. All types of exercise are proven to help prevent diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity. All types of exercise have a part in helping relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Walking is accessible every day. Great for every season.


Keeping it Simple

A morning walk around the lake is refreshing,. Photo-H. Nguyen


So back to all those good morning greetings from my 7am walk today. I love how a simple greeting with a smile doesn’t cost a penny but the payoff is enormous. I feel refreshed, less anxious and hopeful. Time for my breakfast smoothie. What more could I want to start my day. Simply grateful.


Be Well,

Doreen


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