Need some fresh air?
Heading outdoors won’t only benefit your physical body but also has significant benefits on mental health.
Walking in nature provides an opportunity to tune into our own experience and to the world around us. While it can be easy to get lost in thought or daydream or simply zone out the world with a podcast or music, the simple practice of mindfulness can draw us more closely into our experience of the natural world.
Did you know that walking outdoors can also deepen our connection with friends and family?
Walking while enjoying great conversation and laughter is one of life’s most enjoyable activities and it’s 100% free! Just remember to stop and smell the roses or in this case the eucalyptus!
Unlike a traditional gym walking outside provides the added benefit of getting some fresh air. Walking exercises both your body and your mind. There are plenty of benefits, including:
- stress and anxiety reduction
- increased energy
- emotional regulation
- enhanced awareness
- enhanced creativity
- improved concentration
- increased productivity
Many studies have shown that nature truly has a healing and restorative power. Being outdoors helps alleviate stress and anxiety and assists with recovery from mental fatigue.
As a yoga instructor, we commonly encourage students to practice meditation laying down or seated after a yoga practice to help the body absorb and recover from the practice / class. Walking is an equally important method and also a great opportunity to be more mindful in an informal way. Walking with family and friends provides alternative and additional benefits to solo experiences, creating better connections.
Tips for mindful walking
Mindfulness is a simple practice which can reduce stress and increase calmness. Learning how to be mindful while out for a walk is straight forward and happily the benefits can come quickly.
- Pay attention to each step
- Bring awareness to your senses
- Stop and look at what is above and below you
- Pause and listen to the soothing sounds of the outdoors
- Touch and feel the contact of air against your skin
- Smell the scents around you
We are fortunate living in the Blue Mountains, we are literally surrounded by bushwalks in all area’s which are free for use. If you want to do something a bit different the Blue Mountains National Park | NSW National Parks has some brilliant walks.
Don’t have time to head to your closest bushwalk? Simply take a walk around your block or neighbourhood and you will get plenty of benefit.
- Regardless if you are heading out for a 10 minute walk or a full day hike ALWAYS tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back.
- Stay on the track.
- Leave if you don’t feel safe.
- Don’t bushwalk if there is a bushfire in the area. Find an alternative location.
- Don’t leave valuables in your car. Only pack the essentials with you eg. your phone and ID.
- Take a bottle of water
- Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide!
- Ensure you have a first aid kit in your car.
- Where possible park near others.
At the time of writing we are in lockdown and there has been robberies with people waiting near cars. If someone is lurking near your car or there is a piece of paper on your windscreen go the other way. If this isn’t possible, get in your car and immediately lock and drive away. You can check the paper left on your car later.
Remember to take it slow and enjoy your time.
Blue Mountains National Park: www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/blue-mountains-national-park
Slip, Slop, Slap Campaign: www.cancer.org.au/cancer-information/causes-and-prevention/sun-safety/campaigns-and-events/slip-slop-slap-seek-slide