How to Turn Any Walk into a Zen Session


Meditation is a hot topic these days, and for good reason: It can improve your health in super-heroic ways, whether it’s improving your mood and lessening fatigue, or boosting your immunity. But if the thought of sitting still and attempting to clear your mind seems difficult to you, perhaps meditating on the move is more your speed.

Just like seated meditation, walking meditation can help you focus on the present moment. However, instead of closing your eyes and tuning everything out, you focus on the experience of walking and use your senses to take in everything that’s happening in the moment, says Eva Selhub, M.D., author of Your Health Destiny: How to Unlock Your Natural Ability to Overcome Illness, Feel Better, and Live Longer. Here’s how to do it:

4 Simple Steps to Mediate on the Move

Use all 5 senses. As you walk, take note of your personal experience. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? What do you feel?  “You might observe the sensation of your feet touching the ground, or the motion of your arms as they swing, or the breeze on your skin, or the aromas of the trees, or the sound of the leaves,” Selhub says. If your mind starts to drift, bring it back to your senses and what’s happening right here, right now.

Let go and go slow. “As you focus on your experience the stress response is turned down, creating a relaxation response in your body, which is the goal of meditation,” Selhub says. When you feel yourself relax—let it happen. Take your time, and focus on each part of your step—feeling your heel strike, and how your foot rolls onto the ball of your foot. Slowing your process will help you be more mindful of it, and also help you to relax even more deeply.

Step outside. If you have access to nature, you can reap additional benefits by practicing walking meditation outdoors. “Research shows that just being in nature turns down the stress response and reduces stress hormones while improving your mood, energy, and immune system—especially if you do it for more than 20 minutes at a time,” says Selhub.

Wear your fitbit tracker. “You’ll likely find that when you take a mindful walk in nature, you can go for longer periods of time, and feel less boredom or fatigue, so you may go further than you expect,” says Selhub. Wearing a tracker can help you account for miles, steps, and calories, and if you’re wearing a heart-rate enabled tracker, you might also be able to see the results of your meditative state. Your heart rate should remain relatively low, if you’re calm.

Finally, it goes without saying: When you’re taking it all in, and enjoying your steps—be sure to watch where you’re taking them. Walking meditation is about feeling good, so you want to stay that way!

12 Comments   Join the Conversation

12 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I am really interest in walking for fitness. I am 84, and because of hip surgery 5. 4 years ago. It is suggested I walk. Do you have any suggestions how I can make the most of My Walk? (I am in good health otherwise)

    • The Fitbit category that covers the best walking tips for non exercisors on gives excellent suggestions on how to get the best out of your walk. Other than that, set some goals and keep raising them as you get stronger.

  • I am a yogi who always walks with my dogs. Have been trying to add more mindfulness on my walks. My dogs can get overprotective sometimes, taking away the relaxation. Any tips once they are done defending me, how to get grounded again. My walks are more like waterskiing, 2 medium sized strong, stubborn dogs.

  • This appeals to me the most. Having had unknown cancer, and a rash of bad experiences, has left me 80 lbs lighter, yet, less healthy than I was at 250 lbs.
    Deformities in my feet, and degeneration in the Main parts of my spine, (Due to having Both RA and Psoriatic Arthritis) make walking uncomfortable most days. I’ve become More sedentary, in the past 3 years. Water sports, used to be my “go to” to “make up” for my natural lack of exercise. Water is difficult, with deformed feet. I can’t purchase new shoes, let alone flippers, so, I have had a sinking feeling for a minute now. I got my fit bit because, the fitness tracker I was using, was solely on my phone, so, if I wasn’t carrying it, it wasn’t logging Anything. Personally adding sleep, only gives time slept, no other data to look into. Knowing I have sleep issues, I needed more.
    I am impressed by the fit bit, and even more so, by the tips and tidbits that are part of it. Walking Meditation, could, Very Well be, exactly what I need to get some motivation.
    Thank you for your time!!

  • I love my Fitbit 2 – on our Alaska holiday -our shore excursions were a walking experience and my husband was so pleased to know how many steps we experience.

  • I am 85 yrs and love my fitbit,
    I usually walk about 5 days a week for about 30 min.
    I don’t seem to lose weight,even though I dont eat much,cut out all sweets etc.
    Some people say I dont eat enough.
    Is this possible. Icant walk to fast ,is this the problem.

  • I am 85 yrs and love my fitbit,
    I usually walk about 5 days a week for about 30 min.
    I don’t seem to lose weight,even though I dont eat much,cut out all sweets etc.
    Some people say I dont eat enough.
    Is this possible. I cant walk to fast ,is this the problem.

    • Your leptin level may be off. See if you can find someone local to you that does Reliv. It is a nutrition company with ten patented nutrition products. Lunarich (Lunacin) is the product that helps leptin levels. I have the same problem but Lunarich is helping.

  • Thank you for your articles. I have recently been diagnosed diabetic. I have over 100 lbs to lose and have a bad back. What you said makes a lot of sense. I especially need to be mindful of my posture.

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