Nine tips for walking young, safe and happy

On my boot camp, the aim is to reduce suffering, not increase it.

On my boot camp, the aim is to reduce suffering, not increase it.

So, how can we walk more mindfully on our everyday excursions? (Not during a formal walking meditation: that’s a different kettle of fish.) And what can we copy from the best young walkers? And what else makes a walk through town a delicious adventure? 

Some of my tips-to-self are not possible if you’re very old, or if you have certain disabilities. So please pick and choose the ones what appeal to you. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t try and change everything. But if something I suggest resonates with you, why not experiment a little? Strange to say, some of these tips can be followed even in a wheelchair or a walker.

Walk young

  1. Walk fairly fast, at least some of the time. 
  2. Bounce along. Lift your feet up.
  3. Raise your breastbone a smidgen. This will automatically improve your posture with no other effort. You will be taller!
  4. Lift up your eyes. Elevate your personal horizon a few degrees. 
  5. Look around. Look at sky, trees, traffic lights, graffiti, bicycles, children, lapdogs, posters, gorillas and fuschia buds.  

Walk safe

6. Trust yourself. Be aware of trip hazards in your peripheral vision, but don’t walk along looking at the footpath or your feet. That’s no fun and can upset your balance.

7. Don’t jaywalk, Rachel. Stop it right now! You know that’s dangerous, especially if you trip over your ball gown or a wheel comes off your shopping trolley. You saw how scary it was when an early-aging friend ignored pedestrian crossings. (Trying to retrain myself on this one.)

Walk happy

8. Enjoy your body. Be aware of one part of your body as you move along. One day, feel what’s happening in your arms. Next day, your thighs. Another time, the way your arms swing. Enjoy the warm sun on your face: what a glow! Enjoy the cold wind on your face: you’re alive!

9. And smile at strangers. Deliberately. Often. With eye contact. This is extremely interesting, not to mention fun. Count the number of smiles you get back in return.

Image from "History of the Ninth and Tenth Regiments Rhode Island Volunteers, and the Tenth Rhode Island Battery, in the Union Army in 1862" (1892) Spicer, Wm Arnold. Public domain.