what is wellness and how does it relate to walking?

Would you believe you can answer that question on your own?

Find the nearest park, call a friend to meet you there, and take a walk. When you return home, journal about it. Write about how the walk made you feel in six different realms – the physical, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social and environmental.

Go ahead, try it!

This was an assignment I used with my high school students. If you’re not into the journaling part, that’s OK. (Neither were some of my students.) We’ll go through it in class…uhhh, I mean in the blog.

As a former health teacher, my students and I would discuss wellness as a state of well-being. The well-being part consisted of dimensions  – the areas of physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual and environmental health. I always had to make sure to point out the state of well-being is not static. It is not a one time measurement, like a fitness test or a driver’s license test, but a benchmark that we move over, under and around each day. As a class, we would discuss the importance of striving to keep all the dimensions in balance, all throughout life, during good times and bad. Our discussion revolved around the fact that wellness is dynamic, circular, always changing, adaptable, and in constant need of regular assessment.

My class decided wellness was like a journey, and maintaining or improving it could be as simple as a walk in the park. They were so very right. Here are some of their arguments…

Countless studies indicate walking is an easy way to immediately begin to improve a person’s overall physical fitness. After the first few steps, the heart responds with beats of renewed vigor. The blood circulates to improve memory and refresh the intellect. Nothing like the fresh air and beauty of nature to reboot the brain. Suffering from depression, anxiety, or stress? Let it go, as you focus on the gentle rhythm of the stroll. Step by step, walking and talking with a group or another person builds relationships and forms connections. While you burn extra calories from the minutes and miles of the meander, you can discuss what to do with the deficit, will you maintain or lose weight? Will you eat more or less? What food choices will you make? By the way, “have you any new recipes to share?” Environmentally, you will be one less car polluting the sky, which should make you feel good, and that goodness will undoubtedly impact your spiritual health because you value the planet. You are doing your part for the greater good of humanity as you bipedal about on Earth’s green path.

Check your journal. I’m sure you came up with even more insights and reflections about how the walk made you feel. It’s amazing how with minimal effort, a simple walk can impact all of the dimensions of health in one good way or another.



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