9 tips to self for walking young, safe and happy


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

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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?

These are tips to myself, and some may appeal to you. Some are not possible if you’re very old, or if you have certain disabilities. 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 fast, Rachel, 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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 know you are setting a bad example to your grandchildren. (Trying to retrain myself on this one.)

Walk happy

  1. Enjoy your body, Rachel. Be aware of one part of your body as you move along. One day, feel what’s happening in your arms. Another 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!
  2. 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. (Ed. I know, you don’t have to tell me that.)

Walk like a child. That’s progress!

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. Painting by Lesley Evans of four little girls CC BY-NC 3.0. Lesley is my sister!  https://www.facebook.com/LesleyEvansArtist/

20 thoughts on “9 tips to self for walking young, safe and happy

  1. Going for a walk later, will try to put your advice into practice. My dad always walked with his eyes on the ground, we used to say he was looking for money …

    1. Did he find any?

      1. If he did, he never shared it with us!

  2. Dan Antion says:

    Great advice. I always try to smile when I see other people while walking.

    1. Watching their responses is fun too.

  3. Great advice, love it! Please tell your sister that I absolutely love that painting!!

    1. Thank you, I sure will! I’ve just had a super weekend when I got to see all her latest experiments in paint.

  4. Val says:

    I hadn’t realised that Jaywalking was illegal in several countries! It’s not a problem in the UK and where we live, it’d be impossible to get across the road without it as there isn’t a crossing for miles!

    Do you see many gorillas en route? 🙂

    1. Sure, gorillas all the way to the horizon!

  5. I love your walking advice, Rachel! Especially the part about smiling at strangers: something I do whenever I’m out and about, be it on a walk or at the grocery store. And I love your sister’s painting! 🙂

  6. Aunt Beulah says:

    Great rules to walk by, Rachel. I have discovered many of them on my own, and the breastbone tip did wonders for my posture, though I think of it as getting my boobs up. And the one I struggle with the most? Yup, jaywalking. Why is that do you suppose?

  7. Jaywalking is a hard habit to break, that’s for sure. Only the thought of my grandchildren keeps me in line.

  8. Robyn Haynes says:

    What a great reminder Rachel. I often become so engrossed I forget where I’m putting my feet. Many rolled ankles because of it.

  9. Yes, it’s something to re-learn now and then, I find!

  10. Gail Rehbein says:

    This is really good Rachel. Together they bring mindfulness to walking. So many times, minds go everywhere but where we are! I think that’s how trips and other mishaps happen… when the mind floats off. The tip about noticing different parts of the body while walking reminds me of things I’ve learnt in yoga. I like the lightness of your script for better walking. It’s delightfully playful.

    1. A little awareness goes a long way, which is great. Thank you for noticing style as well as content!

  11. Joared says:

    You make walking an even more attractive activity than most might think. Reminds me I need to get out and do more even if only for a short distance — probably in the beginning.

    1. Try the tiny habit habit: start with a 30-second walk! You’ve got the right approach.

  12. Great advice. Think I will ditch the podcasts during walks and opt for mindfulness. I have caught my reflection in shop windows and notice a tendency to Tilt. Love the idea of focusing on different body parts on different days — lifting breastone, trying bounce, etc, but not obsessing about it.

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