fitness · mindfulness · walking

Walking Quiet, Walking Loud

I usually like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks* to add some extra fun when I take Khalee for a walk. On challenging days, when my walk would be filled with unhelpful rumination, focusing on a different narrative is really helpful.

However, me being me, I end up overthinking everything, including the fact that I listen to stuff while I walk.

Would it be better to walk quietly and just observe?

Should I make an effort to do walking meditations more often?

Would walking mindfully serve the same brain-clearing purpose as immersing myself in a narrative does?

A top down photo of a dog next to a bush with large pink flowers on it.
Khalee doesn’t listen to podcasts while she walks and she also doesn’t worry about whether it’s the right thing to do.

image description: A fairly close-up, top-down photo of Khalee, my light-haired dog, walking on some grass right past a large pink flower on a short bush. She is facing to the right and her head and shoulders are in the frame. The bush with the link flowers is to her left at the top of the image.

I didn’t know the answer to these questions so I’ve been choosing to walk without my headphones**every so often lately, just to see how I feel about it.

It turns out that I like it…as an occasional thing.

It’s good to take a break from my usual routine and I enjoy choosing to let my mind wander as I walk.

And it was interesting to realize that while I’m obviously more mindful while walking without headphones, it turns out that I am generally pretty observant on all my walks.

Even with my headphones on, I notice changes in my neighbourhood. I see different flowers and trees growing. I stop to take pictures.

A bunch of white daisies growing in some grass.
For example, I had to stop and get a photo of these happy daisies when I saw them recently. Image description: at least a dozen daisies growing tall amidst some grass. The daisies have white petals and yellow middles.

That’s not the behaviour of someone who is zoned out or too caught up in her entertainment to notice the world around her.

Waking loud (i.e. with headphones) or walking quiet (i.e. without headphones) turns out to be one of those situations where I can have it both ways.

Either type of walk is enjoyable and they both do me some good.

So I guess I’ll just play it by ear (ha!) from now on.

PS – What do you do when you’re walking? Are your headphones on or off?

*I have been having a great time listening to Ghostly Thistle’s fiction podcast The Antique Shop lately and I recently enjoyed Kate Racculia’s book Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts narrated by Lauren Fortgang.

**Well, headphone, singular, I don’t use two headphones while walking so I can stay aware of my surroundings. I only use two when I am wearing my hatphones – they don’t block out noise the way my regular headphones do.

Let us know what you think....