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Lancaster County ACEs & Resilience Connection (PA)

Working collaboratively with schools, business, healthcare, government agencies, social services, criminal justice systems, healthcare organizations & faith communities to become a trauma-informed community. We invite all concerned citizens, professionals & advocates to partner with us to raise awareness about trauma & its effects, to build resilience, and offer hope & healing.

TIC Take Five: Walking: The Best Medicine

 

“Walking is the best medicine.”  

- Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC), Greek physician, widely regarded the "Father of Western Medicine"

Under our current #StayAtHome orders, one of the few things we can still do outside of our homes is take a walk. And it turns out Hippocrates was right. Modern research has shown walking really IS good medicine - improving our physical health, boosting our immune system, increasing longevity, preventing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression (among others), inspiring creativity, even taming our sweet tooth! (which might come in handy to counteract the stress-eating some of us are doing these days)   

Better yet, mindful walking adds even more benefits. Mindful walking can take a variety of forms.

You could notice the individual components of each step you take: lifting one foot, moving it forward, placing it on the ground, shifting weight to lift the other foot, etc.

Or you might pay close attention to your surroundings as you walk: noticing the feel of the air on your skin, the sounds around you (your own footsteps and breathing, birds singing, traffic), the colors and objects (and maybe even a few people?) that you see, any smells in the air. 

The Danish philosopher  Søren Kierkegaard (1813 -1855)  offered this “prescription” for walking:

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.”

So today’s TIC Take Five for self-care is to take 5 minutes to just do some mindful walking - inside or out, up stairs or down, around the block or around the living room. (uh, to be clear, walking from sofa to fridge and back doesn’t quite fit the bill here)

Whether you decide to stroll, meander, saunter, wander, hike, traipse or trek, keep in mind the Chinese proverb:

“One step at a time is good walking.”

The Greater Good in Action site at Berkeley has details on a guided walking meditation at: https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/walking_meditation

And here’s a lovely Navajo meditation on walking:

In beauty I walk

With beauty before me I walk

With beauty behind me I walk

With beauty above me I walk

With beauty around me I walk

It has become beauty again

It has become beauty again

It has become beauty again

It has become beauty again. (https://cac.org/walk-in-beauty-2018-08-10/)

 

SOURCES:

https://www.psychologytoday.co...te-creative-thinking

https://www.health.harvard.edu...-benefits-of-walking

(PHOTO: Courtesy of Bruce G. Snyder Photography, Zenkaikon anime convention, Lancaster, PA) - https://brucesnyderphoto.smugmug.com/)

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