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Benefits of walking in silence for the well-being and health of mothers.

Silent walking: Benefits for mothers
Benefits of walking in silence for the well-being and health of mothers.

"Silent walking" is a term that was trending on TikTok this summer. It involves a combination of exercise, exposure to nature, and meditation while walking outdoors in complete silence, without any distractions, specifically the cell phone. The trend started with some social media influencers talking about the benefits of this practice, calling it a 'movement.'

Scrolling down my TikTok For You page, I found several praises among young people who believe that this is a new practice that improves emotional and physical well-being. However, I also saw several comments from my Generation X who criticized the 'supposed new discovery,' claiming that all the GEN-Zers were doing was describing what GEN-Xers did decades before smartphones came out.

In my opinion, both viewpoints are valid. The first view because silent walking is something new for the current generation, which has access to the world through their phones and headphones. However, the criticism is also valid because for those of us who have lived for more than 40 years, walking in silence was the only option when we were teenagers.

Whatever your viewpoint, this 'new/old' trend has many benefits for a person's well-being. In my case, it was a lifesaver at various moments in my journey as a mother. When my babies were small, going to a gym was an ambitious idea. My children came one after another, bringing not only the work that came with them but also the financial cost. All that was left for me to do was to walk.

The pandemic made walking even more necessary, as this activity became my only escape from the chaos of distance learning with five school-age children and being locked at home due to COVID-19 all day long. If there's anything good that came out of that time, it's that I developed the habit of walking 3 miles a day without thinking about it, which has brought countless benefits to my life.

What Experts Say About 'Silent Walking'

A study published in the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that "participants who took a 90-minute walk in a natural environment reported lower levels of stress and showed reduced activity in an area of the brain related to mental illness compared to those who walked in an urban environment."

Buddhist monks regularly practice "walking meditation," where they focus on their feet, body, and the ground as they walk. In this practice, attention is paid to the process and the sensation of walking. The monk and Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh is famous for this practice, using the act of walking as an anchor in the present moment, helping to deepen our connection with the earth. In his book "Walking Meditation," Thich Nhat Hanh explains that mindfulness of each step helps cultivate mindfulness and appreciation that the present moment is enough.

How to Practice 'Silent Walking'

Young people on TikTok provide the right way to practice this 'new' and 'old' trend. All you have to do is set aside 30 to 90 minutes a day, find a quiet outdoor route, and leave your phone at home, as simple as that. I love to walk, and the time I can do it is in the morning when my kids go to school and just before starting my daily activities. Everyone is different, so choosing the best time will depend entirely on you.

How 'Silent Walking' Can Help You as a Mother

What started as a trend on social media this summer can be very beneficial, especially for mothers who, like me, have to deal with so much in their daily lives. It's a habit that has helped me in many ways and one that I recommend to any woman who wants to stay healthy and active.

In my experience, the main benefit I gained from incorporating this habit into my daily life is Energy, something crucial to dealing with five children and a full-time job both inside and outside the home. Also, I feel in better spirits, my mind is clearer and more creative, it gives me time to appreciate my surroundings, helps me practice gratitude, keeps me active, which contributes to maintaining a healthy weight (if I avoid chocolates and ice cream, which are my weaknesses), and it gives me the opportunity to get my daily dose of vitamin D, thanks to the sun, which contributes to bone health, among other things.

If these reasons don't inspire you to make walking a part of your daily routine, here are some reasons why several experts recommend it:

Clinical Benefits:

  • Reduced stress

  • Increased energy and endurance •

  • Lowered blood pressure and heart rate

  • Improved blood glucose levels

  • Strengthened immune system

Emotional and Mental Health Benefits:

  • Deeper connection with oneself

  • Reduced anxiety levels

  • Allows the mind to switch to a different mode of rest and focus, improving awareness of thoughts

  • Enhances self-awareness, facilitating personal reflection and intentional living

  • Promotes mindfulness by fostering concentration on one task at a time

  • Can improve sleep

What Worked for Me

When my children were babies, I loved taking them for a walk with me. If your children are small, involve them in your walk. Bring a stroller, a good hat to protect them from the sun, and don't forget sunscreen. You'll get your exercise, and your baby will enjoy the outing.

Silent walking: Benefits for mothers
Benefits of walking in silence for the well-being and health of mothers.

Currently, most of my children are teenagers, which means that doing things with me is not the best idea for them. So I take advantage of when they leave for school and go for a 3-mile walk every morning. I return home refreshed and ready to start my daily activities.

So, if your children are like mine, take the time you have to go for a walk. Consider it an opportunity to do something just for yourself, enjoy nature, focus on your breathing, your surroundings, and the moment.

Start slowly, walk twice a week, then increase the frequency to three times until you can walk at least 5 days a week. Half an hour is more than enough, but if you're competitive with yourself, increasing the time, intensity, or distance can be an incentive to keep walking. I assure you that after a while, what may seem like a tedious and challenging task will become a necessity, a therapy for your well-being, and a routine that is easy to follow.

Finally, another benefit of walking outdoors is that you will be a good example for your children. I'm sure that for my five children, seeing me wake up earlier to exercise will stay in their minds when it comes time for them to make decisions related to their health and well-being. And if, for the moment, they are not thinking about the example I'm trying to set, they will at least think I'm a super cool mom for joining the trend and the 'movement' of silent walking on TikTok.

1 comment

1 Comment

Do you enjoy walking? What other benefits do you find in walking outside?

¿Disfrutas el caminar afuera? ¿Qué otros beneficios encuentras en caminar afuera?

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