For the average person seeking to lose weight, there are plenty of traditional approaches. From diets, to exercise plans, to supplements, there is a focus on strict routines and hard work in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.
One exercise that has become increasingly popular for both physical and mental wellbeing is mindful walking. Mindful walking is a technique that combines physical activity with mental awareness, as one takes in their surroundings – sights, sounds, smells – in order to be in the present moment. This utilizes both active and passive forms of mindful awareness, self-reflection and mindful awareness of the outside environment, to create a feeling of joy and connectedness to the natural world.
Connecting with Nature for Improved Mental and Physical Health
Mindful walking encourages connection with nature, rather than fixating solely on the goal of weight loss. We now know that connecting with nature and spending time in green spaces can significantly improve mental health, and has been linked by studies to decreases in depression, symptoms of addiction and thoughts of suicide. It also helps to boost self-esteem and feelings of social connectedness.
Mindful walking has also been linked with improved physical wellbeing. By walking slowly and consciously tuned in to the experience of movement and our environment, studies have shown that it can aid in improving digestion, reducing stress, improving sleep, and has even been linked with a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.
The Benefits of Mindful Walking for Weight Loss
Combining the mental and physical benefits of mindful walking with a weight loss program can help to speed up the process. As you engage with nature, your body starts to release ‘happy hormones’ – endorphins and serotonin – which contribute to increased feelings of wellbeing and can help keep you motivated.
The slow pace of mindful walking also allows one to listen to their body. This can help with developing healthy habits and identify areas in need of change, while providing a peaceful and calming environment.
Finally, taking time to explore and appreciate nature can help to expand our awareness, inspiring creativity and empowering the inner self. This can be helpful in times of difficulty, as it helps to bring perspective and focus.
Incorporating mindful walking into your weight loss plan can provide many benefits, both physical and mental. Whether it’s in a park, a garden, or just your local neighbourhood, try and make time to explore nature and experience the positive effects of mindful walking.
By giving a little time to nature and yourself, you can develop a more positive attitude towards weight loss and create a healthier lifestyle for yourself.