Our modern lifestyle has considerably reduced the walking we do in our life. We spend more time in fast transportation and sitting at a desk. However, standing on two feet is what differentiates us from other species; our bodies are built to walk upright.
Walking provides a long list of health-related benefits. In fact, there is not an area of our health that walking does not improve: our cardio-vascular, respiratory, digestive, hormonal and immune systems, as well as our bones and joints all benefit.
Our health cannot be reduced to something physical. Walking boosts our endorphin hormones, affecting our well-being, our mental and emotional health. Studies also prove that walking boosts our creativity. A Stanford study shows that a person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking
Why does walking bring so many benefits? We know Nature can heal when we give her time. We are part of Nature; we need rest as well and movement to restore balance in our life. When we walk, we allow our natural way of being to regenerate. We can also perceive the world differently, feel it through our body. Driving through a forest does not equal walking in a forest. Walking allows us to discover the place through our physical senses, and our senses of awe, curiosity and gratitude.
Walking allows us to experience the world differently, including meeting others at an intentional speed. Each of my trips taken or led in the Himalayas and France gave me special memories of people and places I encountered, smiles, conversations, moments of discovery where I felt fully present and in awe of the natural and cultural wealth on our planet.
Walking is in our DNA. Our ancestors were nomadic; they explored and moved according to their needs. Revolutions start with people walking in the streets. A long walk can represent a spiritual transformation, often occuring during difficult times. The contemporary popularity of pilgrimages is evidence that we need to disconnect from news, electronics, the complexity of our world and reconnect to simple things such as walking and our true human nature. Some people cannot stand on their feet because of illness or handicap. Walking is an opportunity to feel much gratitude for our body and walk for those who cannot.
It may be true that walking cannot solve every problem.
Yet, restoring walking and encouraging others to walk is one important path to regenerating ourself from inside out, to reconnect with our True Nature of being human and to contribute to healing the world. Along the way, we learn that our body, mind and spirit are capable of so much more than we think! One step at a time.