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photo of person mindful walking through a forest in the fall

Mindful Walking: Meditation Meets Movement

Mindful walking is walking with attention and without distraction. Learn how to get started with advice from a mental health advocate.

By Britt Turpack, mental health advocate and keynote speaker

Mindful walking been a game-changer for me personally. It's like meditation, but with fresh air and nature. Combining two of my favorite things, movement and meditation, mindful walking is my secret for achieving mental clarity and overall well-being.

What is mindful walking?

Mindful walking is walking with attention and without distraction. Leave the earbuds at home, put on some comfortable shoes, and be present in the walk itself. Mindful walking is all about the journey, not the destination. Focusing your attention on the act of walking and the sights, sounds, and sensations of your surroundings immerses you in the moment, calming your mind from a noisy urban thoroughfare into an idyllic forest. In the chaos of everyday life, finding moments of peace are so satisfying. Mindful walking is a simple yet incredibly powerful practice that lets you connect with the present moment, de-stress, and gain mental clarity. The best part is, you can do it essentially anywhere.

Why mindful walking is your mental health BFF

Mindful walking combines the benefits of physical activity with mindfulness meditation. By encouraging you to be fully present with every step you take, every breath you breathe, and the world around you, this practice supports your mental well-being in three major ways: 

  1. Buh-bye stress: Mindful walking gives your nervous system a big, warm hug, reducing stress and anxiety levels. It brings you back to the present moment. Next time you are on a walk, try bringing your awareness to either your breath or your walking pace. I highly recommend NOT listening to music while doing this practice.
  2. Supercharged focus: Practicing mindfulness while walking sharpens your focus like a ninja's katana and boosts mental clarity.
  3. Creative juices flowing: Mindful walking can spark your creative genius by letting your mind wander and make unexpected connections.

    Why mindful walking is your physical health BFF

    A major part of my mental health advocacy is helping people understand the connection between physical and mental health. I often combine mental health discussions with pilates classes when I speak on college campuses. Taking your mental health practice for a walk supports whole-body health:
    1. Get off that chair: We’ve heard sitting is the new smoking. Mindful walking is an excuse to stand up and get moving.
    2. Get outside: Raise your Vitamin D levels by spending some time in the sun and breathe in the fresh air.
    3. Exercise for better everything: Regular exercise helps you live a longer, healthier, happier life. It doesn’t need to be intense. Research shows that just a ten-minute walk after eating minimizes post-meal blood sugar spikes to support healthy metabolism.

      How to get your mindful walk on

      Ready to walk the mindful walk? Here's a step-by-step guide to turn your everyday stroll into a mindfulness adventure:
      1. Find your zen zone: Pick a quiet, safe spot for your mindful walk. Think parks, nature trails, or a serene neighborhood street.
      2. Stop and breathe: Start your walk by taking a few deep breaths. Root yourself in the present and set your intention for the mindful walk.
      3. Slow and steady: Begin your walk at a slower pace than usual. Feel every step as your foot rises, moves forward, and kisses the ground.
      4. Sync your breath: As you walk, sync your breath with your steps. Inhale for a few steps, then exhale for the same number of steps.
      5. Engage your senses: Use your senses to soak in the experience. Feel the earth beneath your feet, listen to the sounds around you, and savor the colors and shapes of nature.
      6. Stay present: If your mind takes a detour into thought-land, gently guide it back to your breath and the sensation of walking. No judgment here; just observe and let go.
      7. Wrap it up with mindfulness: Walk for long as you want. When you're ready to call it a day, stand still, take a few more deep breaths, and appreciate the magic of your mindful walk.

      Remember, like any cool skill, mindful walking may take a little practice. Be kind to yourself and let it naturally become a part of your daily groove. By weaving mindful walking into your life, you can support mental clarity, wave goodbye to stress, and dance with the present moment like nobody's watching.

      LivOn Labs is thrilled to partner with Britt Turpack as she helps organizations and individuals overcome impediments to success through mental health education, motivational speaking, and movement. Learn more about Britt here. Follow her on Instagram @brittlovessmoothies. Keep up with her blog.

      Britt’s credentials:

      • NAMI Representative (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
      • Peer Support Certified under NAMI
      • 500 hour certified yoga teacher
      • Lagree Certified Mat Pilates Certified
      • Life Coaching Certification Southwest Institute of Healing Arts