Last week I decided to do something that I have been wanting to do since I moved to where I now live. I’ve been wanting to take a walk in a nearby park that has a large reservoir. It’s within walking distance from my house, but I usually don’t have enough time to both walk to the park and explore the many trails. So last week I drove the three minute drive to the entrance and started walking.
I walked up a trail I had seen before from the street with no idea where it went to. Within minutes I was high above the city with a breathtaking view of the eastern flank of the San Gabriel Mountains. Walking for another few minutes, and I was walking over the dam that held back the reservoir, the morning sun reflecting off the water in a thousand twinkles. I did a big loop, ended up where I started from and drove home. I was gone for a total of 35 minutes, but a whole new door of experiences was opened to me. All I did was take a walk.
In my work as a hypnotherapist helping people to change, I deal with issues such as smoking cessation, weight loss, anxiety, stress, and health issues, just to name a few. There’s lots of different tools, including hypnosis, that I use to help them deal with these challenges. But one of the first things that I will recommend to my clients is to walk.
Think about how far we have come from the days before the automobile when everyone walked. The car has only been in large scale production for a little over 100 years. Human beings have been walking for over a million years.
We are meant to walk. Our bodies are designed for upright, bipedal locomotion. Walking is a complex behavior that exercises our brains as well as our skeletal system. It is a harmonious integration of various body systems including the inner ear, eyes, touch receptors, muscles, tendons, and joints.
I’m a walker. I’ve walked more miles in my life than you can imagine. I’ve done the bike thing occasionally and that’s cool. I’m not one for loud motorized vehicles such as dirt bikes. I’ve driven to some incredibly beautiful places in my life. But the things that I’ve seen that were the most wonderful, the most magical and the most breathtaking, I’ve walked to.
I first started to walk for exercise after reading a book by Dr. Andrew Weil called “Spontaneous Healing”. Dr. Weil suggests that the cross pattern movement of your limbs when you walk generates electrical activity in the brain that has a harmonizing influence on the central nervous system. He also suggests that even crawling as an adult can help speed recovery from injuries.
Walking requires no skill or special equipment except a good pair of shoes. You can do it anywhere, indoors or out. It doesn’t cost anything and the chance of injury is slight. It’s simple, yet many health professionals consider it the best form of exercise.
According to Andrew Weil, for an ideal aerobic workout, your walks should last 45 minutes and you should be able to cover three miles in that time. But you don’t have to walk for very long to get some benefit. A twenty minute brisk walk will do a lot for you, but a five minute walk now and then can do you some good as well. Now there’s ipods and mp3 players so that you can have a soundtrack to your walk. You can get a pedometer to measure how many steps you are taking. Shoot for 10,000 a day to keep yourself trim and in good shape.
Walking has positive benefits for both mind and body. Walking outside connects you with sky and ground, sun and earth, wind and water. It’s from these things that we are made, after all. Walking is visually stimulating. Walking can break up the monotony of the same house, same office, same freeway, SSDD (same ___ ,different day.)
Have you ever walked on a moonlit night when the full moon lit everything up so bright that it looked like day? When was the last time you walked barefoot in the grass? Have you ever not been able to walk for any length of time? Walking gets pretty valuable about then.
I invite you to take a walk. So much of transforming one’s life is staying connected to what is simple and precious. Walking is both.
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To hear a podcast of this blog go to www.tedinyourhead.com episode 43
Dedicated to helping you move to your next level of greatness,
Ted A. MorenoPersonal/Small Business Coach Certified Hypnotherapist www.TedMoreno.com Photo by Skye Moorhead www.SkyeMoorhead.com