what is mindful walking

Essential mindful walking tips you can use now

We’re all currently allowed out to exercise as much as we like, so why not replace a jog with a mindful walk instead?


Mindful walking is tuning in to the environment around you. It’s time to ditch the headphones and start paying attention to what’s around you. Listen to the birds tweeting. Pay attention to how the light catches the tree. Hear what you don’t normally when you’re rushing between place to place. Take your time to truly appreciate your surroundings.

Mickey Monroe, founder of yoga brand Active Pada, is a big fan of mindful walking and how it can improve your mental health.

Mickey says “Mindful walking is essential as it not only means you’re getting some exercise, but it also ensures you enjoy the same benefits of a meditative practice that you might otherwise do indoors

It’s about stepping away from all that noise – whether it be the negative news or too much social media chatter – and literally grounding yourself in nature.”

The benefits of getting outside

Getting out and about in nature has not only been proven to release stress, it’s also been found to strengthen immunity, something that’s essential right now.

A 2010 study evaluated the effect of forest bathing – a popular Japanese past-time where families all spend time in the great outdoors – on immune function. It found that those that did this had elevated white blood cells, crucial for a healthy immune system.

There are also many other proven benefits from increasing your concentration, which many people are struggling with while in lockdown, to improving your memory.

And breathe

Puressentiel, who create gorgeous essential oils, conducted a survey that showed that two out of three adults had experienced changes to their breathing when stressed.

GP Dr Gill Jenkins, an advisor for Puressentiel, says “it’s important to pay attention to your breathing in times of stress. She says that taking deep controlled breaths, especially while out for a walk, is beneficial to both our physical and mental health.

Achieving a more relaxed state of mind brings a host of beneficial changes in blood pressure, heart rate and body chemistry,” she explains.

“It also means our muscles and joints can function properly. Often when our bodies are stressed, our muscles and joints can get stiff, causing movement issues and this sometimes can lead to minor injuries as a result.”

If lockdown has got you feeling strung out, try this NHS recommended breathing exercise next time you’re enjoying a walk outside.

  • Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
  • Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first.
  • Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again, if you find this helpful.
  • Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.

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