GEOCON High Society Masthead

Walking is the Best Medicine

Kirra Rankin

Who walks briskly on a regular basis? When do you walk? When is best to walk? Morning? Lunch? After dinner? Does it help your clarity or anxiety?

Walking stretches your mind, your body and your soul (not just the sole of your shoes!) It is a gentle dynamic mind & body process which creates a sense of inner rhythm. As you listen to your own silent rhythm you become whole and at peace – listening to your own pulse & heartbeat.  No medication can provide this freedom for you – well, not without side effects.

Walking, gentle running or “Ralking” (combination of running and walking) is a natural mood elevator and spiritual uplift (and it’s free). It helps in promoting feelings of happiness and can ease mild depression and anxiety. Walking kick starts your circulatory system and gives you the energy to get through the day (and maintain a constant flow of relaxed energy). Our bodies need airing (no, sorry, not air-conditioning). Oxygen is rarely allowed to surge through our veins making us feel energetic, alive and vital. But gentle exercise can change all that. Walking rejuvenates and revitalises the body’s cell network, releases muscular tension and taps into our energy levels. Exercise motivates, energises and empowers.  So kick start your inner rhythm with a morning walk.

The Intuitive Mind

As you allow your mind to relax, your perception changes and you reach from the everyday conscious mind to your highest level of mind – the intuitive mind. When you walk, your subconscious mind cuts through the mental clutter, cuts though the everyday stressful-mindless mess, releasing vitality and creativity, transcending ordinary linear thinking and helping you find a creative solution (or calmness). No medication –nope – just through the freedom of putting one foot in front of the other.

Releasing Relaxation Hormones.

Walking decreases stress hormones and increases beta-endorphins (or relaxation hormones), which elevates your mood, increases your sense of well being & sense of self. We can achieve all of this before the work day even starts!  Perfect.

When to Walk?

In today’s infuriatingly fast paced world, constant text messages, regular email beep-offs, facebook updates and mindless Twitter flashes you deprive yourself of the much needed space in your mind. So when is best to clear your mind with a walk? Morning?  Lunch? After dinner? Any time is better than no time. However, it is better to walk during early hours of morning because the environment is considered to be fresh, clean and not polluted.  The air that you intake during the morning is more likely to be free of polluted gaseous matters and has low level of carbon dioxide. This supplies good amount of oxygen to the internal organs.

The fresh oxygen that you get early in the morning also gives you great amount of energy especially to your joints. The movement in your legs (the big muscle groups) releases good cholesterol in your blood, opening up your channels of energy (or “chakras”). Having a consistent flow of movement through your joints, you increase your blood circulation in a way that can only be completed with your daily morning walk.

Mind-Body technique

When you are walking in the morning try to be very present and in “the now”.  Focus on the rhythm of your breath, timing of your pulse and rhythm of each foot step (try to stay light on your feet!); if we are present in the here and now, it induces a deep state of relaxation and self-awareness. Adding a little mind-body technique to walking, we can provide greater relaxation and stress management (or pain management), and can turn a routine walk into a creative, uplifting & rejuvenating free experience. Yes, it is free.  No medication. No side-effects.  Just plain old walking.

Getting Started

1)     Have good foot wear, to prevent injuries. Go to your local Athletes Foot and get your foot analysed.

2)     Have your shoes and exercise kit ready to go in the morning.

3)     Choose a variety of loops for your walk.

4)     30 mins is plenty. Lets not go crazy.

5)     Avoid busy roads. You need fresh air with green & clean surroundings. There are plenty of mountains to walk around in Canberra.  Red Hill is my favourite.

6)     Once you get fitter – add some surges.  Hard for 30 sec, easy for 30 sec. And maybe try some basic or more advanced ralking!

So there you have it. Walking is the best medicine.  Where are your favourite places to walk? When do you find time to walk? Share with us! 

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Kirra Rankin

Kirra Rankin is the owner and innovator of Capital Hydrotherapy in Deakin and Majura Park. Kirra is a Rehabilitation Exercise Physiologist with additional qualifications in Massage therapy, Coaching (Level II) and Pilates. She is also the founder of Animalates ("Pilates for children with an animal theme") which is a children's movement program now based in London. Kirra loves being creative with her exercise programming, & enjoys thinking outside the box - making the impossible, possible... More about the Author

  • Nik

    Even though I run on a regular basis (I wouldn’t call myself a “runner” but I’ve done a couple of 5-10km fun runs etc) I have just recently found I am loving walking in the morning. I take my puppy out and do a 20-30 min walk before breakfast, just around my neighborhood. The air is crisp, it’s semi-quiet and I don’t take my phone or anything so it lets me plan my day/think about my goals for the day or week/daydream! I still like to run for fitness but walking is more for my mental health!

  • Dee

    I just started walking regularly this year after a couple of years of no regular exercise. I find the early evening works for me, when I get home from work and earlier on the weekend. I love it 🙂 Feels so good! I’ve done the combination of running/walking in the past…must make that a part of my routine too. Thanks for all the information in your article. Dee xxx

  • GoddessMel

    Will a group be walking this weekend? It would be a nice way to recharge during a very busy weekend 🙂