fitness walking meditation
Fitness Walking Meditation is a form of meditation in motion. Unlike traditional meditation, which is practiced while sitting in silence, meditation in motion uses the movements that accompany any continuous, repetitive physical activity as its focal point. Walking, running, swimming, bicycling, and cross-country skiing are examples of continuous, repetitive physical activity that is typically sustained for at least twenty minutes and can provide an aerobic training effect as well as a meditative benefit.
Walking is a great activity to learn to meditate on the move because it’s safe, can be done by almost anyone, and can be done indoors on a treadmill or outdoors. It’s also a great starting point for those who finally want to start a running program. During the physical walking meditation, you focus on the individual components of each step (raise leg, bend knee, step forward, touch heel, touch toe, etc.), the process of walking ( sensations in the feet, legs, back, etc.), balance and sensation of movement), and breathing. Practicing fitness walking meditation regularly will not only help you relax through meditation, but it will also help you increase your fitness level.
In this combination of moving meditation and physical walking, you walk at a pace and for a long enough time to get an aerobic training effect. You focus your attention on each step, extension, knee flexion and redirect your thoughts backwards when you walk when they stray. You can use your cadence of footsteps and your breathing pattern to help you minimize distracting thoughts while focusing on what’s happening in your legs, feet, and hips as you walk. You can count “one, two, three, four” in sync with the beat, beat, and rhythm of your steps. You can also determine how many steps you take with each inhalation and exhalation and time them. For example, I take six steps on each inhalation and six steps on each exhalation when I walk. When I’m running I take three breaths on each inhalation and three on each exhalation. This helps me keep my thoughts on my breathing and my steps instead of the thousand and one other things that go around my brain when I walk or run.
To achieve an aerobic fitness training effect when performing mindfulness meditation in motion, you should keep your heart rate between 60 and 85 percent of your maximum achievable rate for at least twenty minutes of continuous activity.
Instructions: The following instructions are for an indoor program using a treadmill. You can modify the instructions to accommodate walking outdoors on a path, sidewalk, or path. 1. Stand on the treadmill and hold on to the handrails for support. 2. If you have a heart rate monitor, make sure it is turned on, adjusted correctly, and ready to use. 3. Turn the treadmill on to the lowest setting. 4. Start walking at a slow pace to warm up. 5. After a few minutes of walking at this slow pace to warm up, check your pulse by hand or with a monitor. 6. You may want to stop the treadmill when you do this. 7. Start the treadmill and increase the speed or incline so that your heart rate reaches 60-85 percent of the maximum heart rate range. 8. Focus on your breathing and count the number of steps you take for each inhalation. 9. Use this number to count yourself with each inhalation and each exhalation as you continue to walk. 10. Bring your attention to your feet, legs, knees, and hips as you continue to walk. 11. Begin to pay attention to each step (striking the heel of the foot, rolling forward on the ball and ball of the foot, gently pushing off the toes). 12. Pay attention to your footsteps during several steps. 13. Bring your attention to your ankles and lower legs as you continue to walk. 14. Notice how your ankles and lower legs contract and relax with each step. 15. Pay attention to the ankles and lower legs during several steps. 16. Shift your focus to your knees and upper legs as you continue to walk. 17. Pay attention to the knees and upper legs during several steps. 18. Shift your focus to your hips as you continue to walk. 19. Notice how your hips sway in relation to each step. 20. Feel your hip muscles contract and relax with each step. 21. Pay attention to your hips for several steps. 22. Shift your focus to the entire process of walking from gait to hip crunch and flexion. 23. Try to focus on the flow of your stride as you walk effortlessly on the treadmill, take deep, steady breaths and count your cadence to yourself. 24. Don’t be critical of yourself if your mind wanders or if you have trouble concentrating on your muscles. Just be aware of what’s going on and come back to your breath and notice how you walk. 25.Continue walking for 20-30 minutes. 26. At the end of this time, slow down the treadmill, decrease the incline, and continue walking. 27. Slowly bring your focus back to your surroundings. 28. Continue to walk at a slower pace while fully adjusting to your surroundings. 29. After about five minutes, stop the treadmill and carefully step down.
To get the maximum benefits from meditation and aerobic training, you should practice this activity four times a week. If you find the 40-45 minutes it takes to do this too long, walk for a shorter period and gradually build up to full time. You can also walk at a slower pace for the entire time if you can’t keep up with your target heart rate. If you are not interested in achieving an aerobic training effect, skip the part of the instructions dealing with pulse control and walk at a comfortable pace. In about three months, you should start to experience some of the benefits of increased aerobic fitness and meditation.