fitness · walking

Things not to worry about during a walking challenge

CW: mention of weight loss.

It’s been a busy week at FIFI headquarters; spring is here (for many of us in the Northern Hemisphere), and with it have swooped in loads of downright unhelpful (not to mention demonstrably false) media messages. No, we don’t need to do anything to get a bikini body, to cover up or distract others from our bellies, to diet in extreme and harmful ways to fit into items of clothing just because, or apologize for mentioning our periods in the course of our active lives.

Imagine our exasperation when this notice came across Sam’s news feed:

Publicity for virtual walking challenge that is exhorting us to walk and lose weight. No thanks.

Yeah, no. Here’s what I think they should have put instead:

New and improved notice, saying walk and do anything other than worry about how to lose weight.

In case you’re stumped for things to do instead of worrying about losing weight while you’re walking, here are some suggestions.

  • Hum to yourself
  • Sing to strangers
  • Hold a lively discussion with self about the relative merits of tulips and azaleas
  • Learn about something completely random from a podcast
  • call your mother
  • bring a dog along with you– yours or a friend’s– with poop bags
  • pick a different bakery/bookstore/coffeeshop/park as your destination each time you get out there
  • If arriving at a park, sit on a bench or climb a tree or stretch or splash water on yourself from a fountain
  • Practice saying phrases aloud that you remember from a foreign language class you took in school

Honestly, I could go on for a while. But you get the idea. I hope the organizers of this event (and other such folks) will get clued in as well.

Happy walking while not worrying about… well, anything!

love,

-FIFI management

dogs · fitness · walking

April is Active Dog Month: Who knew?

Yes, it’s true.

April IS Active Dog Month.

And, yes, there is truly a month or a week or at least a day for everything. Maybe that fact makes you a bit meh about all of these sorts of declarations (and that’s fair!) but I kind of like the idea of finding something to celebrate on any given day.

Maybe I am not going all in for National Garlic Day today, I haven’t planned any celebrations for Coin Week this week, and I don’t even think I have the required millinery to celebrate Straw Hat Month but I *am* strongly pro-fun so I vote yes on anything that brings a little levity to your day-to-day.

ANYWAY, back to the celebration at hand.

Apparently Active Dog Month was started by Natasha at Om Shanti Pups but I didn’t delve too far into the history of this auspicious month, so I can’t be sure of its origins. However, I do know that she has some good posts on keeping your dog active so check those out for some ideas.

As you know, our dog Khalee is my constant companion and she and I walk every day. I’m not really sure if I am keeping her active or if she is keeping me active but it seems to work out, either way. And if I ever forget that I need a daily walk just as much as Khalee does, she reminds me.

a light-haired dog stands on a sidewalk next to snow covered grass and trees, she is looking back towards the camera and one of her front paws is lifted off the ground.
I love how Khalee looks like she has quite enough of my lollygagging here. Image description: My light-haired, medium sized dog, Khalee, is standing on a sidewalk next to some snow -covered grass and bushes. She is wearing a harness that is attached to a neon yellow leash. Khalee’s left side is toward the camera and she has turned her head to look at me while raising her left front paw off the sidewalk.

There’s a fair amount of dog talk here on the Fit is a Feminist Issue blog (a while ago, Sam compiled some of them into a post here) so I thought it would be fun to get a few of our bloggers to chime in about dogs and exercise.

Diane:

I no longer own a dog. I like being able to travel and not worry about boarding. When I had a dog, I always resented having to take him out for long walks when I was trying to get ready for work, or it was time for bed. But I love dogs, and enjoy a moment of interaction as many as possible while out walking, even if it is just a quick whispered “who’s a good pup?” as we walk in opposite directions.

A white poster from a prank website called Obvious Plant, poster is trimmed in green and lists joke dog commands.
This poster from Obvious Plant (a satirical/joke social media account from a person who also places posters and products in public places as a prank) always cracks me up. I have yet to teach Khalee how to hover ominously but we’re working on it. Image description: a white poster trimmed in green with a list of joke dog commands. The poster heading reads ‘Most Common Dog Commands’ and the list reads ‘ Sit, Stay, GLOW, Hover Ominously, Resurrect a fallen ally, Split yourself into two so I have more dogs to pet, Seal the portal, Shoot lasers, Channel the fire breath of a mighty dragon, Spread love, destroy evil. ‘

Elan:

I do not have a dog, but I walk/hike semi-regularly with two friends’ dogs, Ellie and Ricky. I notice a heightened, vicarious enthusiasm for walking while with a dog. With a dog, the walk seems more interesting, perhaps because humans and dogs find different things interesting while walking. There is a sense of companionship and satisfaction when walking with a dog that even some non-dog owners notice. Is there a difference between dog walking and walking while with a dog? Dog owners probably know.

Sam:

Cheddar is around the blog a lot. The blog turns 10 this summer and Cheddar is 7 so there’s a lot of overlap! These days Cheddar is the reason I’m out walking at all. While waiting for total knee replacement, both knees, I’m not a fan of walking even though it’s good for me. It hurts. But Cheddar gets me out there three or four times a week. He’s lucky that I’m not the only person who walks him. I’m lucky he’s excellent at adjusting his pace to the person walking him. He’s also a most excellent yoga dog, though unlike Adriene’s Benji he’s not good at staying off the mat so he gets his own.

a dog is resting on a pink yoga mat on a wooden floor, a grey yoga mat is next him.
Cheddar has obviously grasped the essentials of a good yoga practice: get on the mat, find ease. Image description: Cheddar, a light-coloured, long-haired dog is resting on a pink yoga mat on a wooden floor, his rope toy is next to him. A grey yoga mat is next to Cheddar’s mat, and the wheels of an office chair can be seen in the background.

Nat:

Walking Lucy has become my partner and my touch point time before work, on our lunch break ,and after dinner during the week. Our youngest kid is 20 and regularly takes Lucy out solo but also subs in for one of us if cooking, work or other exercise needs my time.

Since the walks have to happen I’m out way more consistently and for longer than I’ve ever been before.

a dog sits in a porch waiting to be taken for a walk
Lucy seems to think that it is time for the humans to hurry up a bit. Image description: Lucy, a light-haired dog whose ears stand up straight, is sitting down in a porch looking expectantly up at the camera. Two rugs can be seen on the floor behind her and someone’s foot and leg can be seen on the left side of the photo.

Back to Christine:

Whether we are walking our dogs or they are walking us, at least everyone has the chance to get some movement into their days.

I am intrigued by Elan’s comment about companionship and about the difference between walking a dog and walking with a dog. When my kids were small, I used to love going for a walk and pushing the stroller – more often than not I would be yammering away to them and they would be asleep! And as much as I enjoy walking on my own, I had missed the feeling of pushing the stroller.

I thought that I was missing the extra effort that the stroller required, that my brain needed the extra work to calmly stay on task instead of filling up with other ideas about what I should be doing. (ADHD brains have a knack for that kind of thing.)

I don’t think that I really considered it before now but I think that walking Khalee gives me a lot of the same feeling that walking with the stroller did. There’s a larger purpose to my walk and I have company (which, as many people with ADHD will attest, makes almost any task more doable.)

So, now that I think about it, I definitely know the difference between walking a dog and walking with a dog, and I am doing the latter.

I’m not walking Khalee, we are walking together. I do most of the talking and she does most of the sniffing – everyone working to their strengths, you know?

And maybe her blog posts are all about hoping that I am getting enough exercise this month.

fitness · injury · walking

Sam, the slow walker

If you are hiking in a group and waiting for slower people to catch up, don’t start walking again when they do catch up, because then you got a rest and they didn’t. I think about this tip a lot, in many different contexts.

Thanks to severe osteoarthritis in both knees, I’ve become a slow walker. See here and here and here.

I feel pretty good that I am still walking and I’ve read lots about the benefits of walking even though it hurts. But I’m not walking very far or very quickly these days.

Cheddar is very patient and seems to easily adjust to whatever speed I want to walk.

Walking with Cheddar

I’m glad my friends who walk with me–hey Kim!–are patient.

On the bike, I’m sometimes the faster one and this same lesson about waiting for slower people is true there too. When waiting for slower riders at the top of the hill, never just take off when they get there. Sometimes cyclists play a game called “no rest for the wicked” where first to the top have to ride back down and ride up again with the slower riders. As a slower rider, on hills, that feels ok with some people, some of the time. I talk more about this here.

When I’m walking and people get ahead, I’m happy if they walk back to me and I’m also happy if they wait. The only bad combo is waiting and then taking off again the minute I get there. That’s lonely and it would be less pressure all round just to walk by myself.

Walked home from work!

Recently my knees have been feeling a little less painful. I’ve even been able to walk home from work and I’ve been enjoying walking alone in a way I haven’t before. It’s a nice mental break between work and home (the bike ride is too fast to count as a real break) and I like getting to have complete control of the pace without worrying about other people.

body image · diets · fitness · link round up · walking

Fit is a Feminist Friday Link Round Up, #113: Five Things to Read or Listen to on a Friday

The Overthink Podcast Episode on Walking

“Some podcasts only talk the talk, but in today’s episode David and Ellie walk the walk (or talk the walk?) by diving into the philosophy of walking. Walking is a complex sociocultural practice that raises fascinating questions about history, power, and freedom. Why did our ancestors transition from walking on all fours to walking on two legs, and how did this shape our evolution as a species? Why have so many philosophers throughout history (from Aristotle to Rousseau) insisted on incorporating walks into their daily routines? And how do systems of oppression—such as classism, racism, sexism, transphobia, and ableism—mold our experience of walking, determining where and even how we can walk?”

Why Sweden Clears Sidewalks Before Roads

“After analyzing government services through a process known as “gender-balanced budgeting,” many Swedish cities, including Stockholm, prioritize snow clearance very differently. They now clear walkways and bike paths first, especially those near bus stops and primary schools. Next, they clear local roads, and then, finally, highways.”

Maintenance Phase, Diet Book Deep Dive: The Karl Lagerfeld Diet

Who’s that Bond villain stroking a cat and yelling at beloved public figures? It’s Karl Lagerfeld! This week, Mike and Aubrey go in on fashion’s favorite turbo troll and his fancy, joyless diet. This episode serves four.”

The cover of a book called “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet” by Dr. Jean-Claude Houdret features a full-body photo of a very thin Karl Lagerfeld wearing tight jeans, boots, a black blazer, black sunglasses, and a bright white ponytail.
The cover of a book called “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet” by Dr. Jean-Claude Houdret features a full-body photo of a very thin Karl Lagerfeld wearing tight jeans, boots, a black blazer, black sunglasses, and a bright white ponytail.

OPINION: Take ‘weight loss’ off your New Year’s resolution list

“New Year’s resolutions. We’ve all had one at some point, and we’ve all probably given up on at least one, if not more. In fact, the next couple weeks are the time when most people will give up on their resolutions, from being nicer to their mom to going to the gym. If your resolution is to get along better with your mother, maybe you should try to stick that one out. But if your resolution has anything to do with weight loss or dieting, it’s actually OK to let it go.  You should base your New Year’s resolutions — or any self-improvement goal, really — on health and fitness rather than dieting or losing weight. “

Body Image Series: All about Body Neutrality

“In this episode of Eat the Rules, I’m continuing the body image series and talking all about body neutrality – what it is and isn’t, and what it looks like in real life.”

Sat with Nat · walking

Celebrating Small Victories from Tiny Changes.

Recommended Soundtrack: Celebrate by Kool & The Gang

I don’t know why but walking makes me think of penguins. They walk a lot! So here’s a picture of 6 penguins walking towards you on a sandy beach. there’s a nice rolling sea in the background. These penguins aren’t remarkably fancy or big or anything. They are your everyday kind of penguin. But I think they’d be fun to party with.

It’s one week into the new year and I’m reflecting on the small victories I experienced in 2021 and these first few days of 2022. I’m always amazed at how tiny changes can add up to small and sometimes huge victories.

Walking….walking…walking

My average daily step count in 2021 was 12,511 steps. That’s up significantly from 2020’s 9,200 and 2019’s 8,100. Wahoo!

That translates to just over 7 km a day or a whopping 2,500 km last year. Folks, I could have walked from London, Ontario to McAdam, New Brunswick and half way back. HOLY HECK.

Looking at what has contributed to maintaining a higher daily step count, there are a few tiny changes that tipped the balance.

Add just a bit more

When we got our puppy we had to go for many, very short walks of half a block to train her. As Lucy grew we added a bit more to each walk. We made 10, 20, 30 and 45 minute loops in our neighborhood.

My body adapts

Over 18 months those little loop changes added up. Plus I got faster at walking so I now cover in 30 minutes the distance that used to take 50 minutes.

How about right now?

Those loops became our coffee break, lunchtime, morning and evening walks. Over the day we walk a combined 90 minutes to two hours. If a regular scheduled walk can’t happen I grab the dog between calls for 10 minutes. My beloved and I check in if we have busy days. Sometimes we simply ask “how about right now?”

Take a tiny bit of time

Since the walks were woven into our day it was easy. Do I have less time at lunch? A 10 minute loop is enough to refresh myself and get Lucy the movement she needs. Dinner is baking and I know if I sit down I’m not going anywhere. I can take a tiny bit of time. Feeling TOTALLY BAGGED? I can at least do 10 minutes, for Lucy.

A bit of momentum

Often once I’m out the door my feet keep me going. So if my schedule allows that 10 minute walk could stretch into 30. Especially on weekends we tend to just head out and meander since we’ve few timings to meet.

Variety

I got to walk to all kinds of places last year. Downtown to my favourite bookstore or restaurants. In and around McAdam over the summer. Through new trails in London. With my partner, my sister, friends, my kids and alone. Switching up walking partners also keeps it fresh.

Low effort

I bought all slip on footwear. My coats are filled with dog bags, treats. No prep required. I use my phone’s built in step counter. No additional tracking required. I work from home so I can dress comfortably and with the weather in mind so the time to transition from my desk to outside can be seconds, at most 5 minutes.

It’s ok to take a break

If it’s truly a downpour I’m ok walking just enough to get Lucy to do all the things she can do. That might be just 20 minutes that day. It’s ok. I’m dispassionate about not hitting a daily target. When I’m sick I walk if it feels ok but I don’t over do it.

Ask for help

My children happily take their turns in my stead walking Lucy when I am not available. The family has agreed they do the dishes after dinner so I can head out. We negotiate who can do what and when. Without this I don’t have the time to walk.

Celebrate!

Looking back at those tiny changes over a long period of time they morph into small victories. Yay! And that added up to quite a big uptick in my step count. YAY!

Reality Check

So you may think that upping my steps has lead to an amazing physical transformation. Uh. Nope. I look the same. Weigh the same. Wear the same sized clothes.

SURELY my blood pressure improved. Gah. Nope. It’s actually increasing and I’m working with my doctor to address it.

But how about strength? Flexibility? Resting heart rate? Nope. Not changed.

What HAS changed?

As a result of all that walking …I’m much better at walking. I can walk longer at a faster pace.

My mood has been good. I’m feeling more resilient in the face of stress do when the tough times come I’m recovering well. And. Wow. That is a mighty impactful thing worth celebrating.

How about you?

Looking back is there a tiny change you’ve made that had impacts over time?

dogs · fitness · walking

Khalee Solves Christine’s Problem (a poem?)

I had a long list, couldn’t choose what to do

I sat on the step to let my thoughts stew

I was tired, annoyed, upset, and scattered

Inside my skull, my poor old brain clattered.

But as I sat there, no solution in sight

Along came a good pup to set everything right.

She started out subtly 😉 glancing back from the door

Khalee, a light-haired dog, stands in a porch crowded with shoes. Her body is pointed toward the door but her head is turned back looking at someone. ​
Here’s our heroine, Khalee, at the beginning of her brain-rescue efforts. Image description: Khalee, a light-haired dog, stands in a porch crowded with shoes. Her body is pointed toward the door but her head is turned back looking at someone.

But when I stood up, she began to implore…

 Image description: Khalee, a light-haired dog, is standing on her back paws with her front paws on me as I take the photo. Her nose is close on the camera and we can see along the left side of her head
She’s kind of blurred and frantic looking because she was moving when I snapped this. Image description: Khalee, a light-haired dog, is standing on her back paws with her front paws on me as I take the photo. Her nose is close on the camera and we can see along the left side of her head.

“Come on, Christine, it’s time for a walk.”

Well, I imagined her saying it, if she could talk.

A back on view of a dog in a green hoodie, she is attached to a neon yellow leash that extends toward the camera. She is walking on some light snow that covers a driveway and a piece of curb.
Our valiant pup leads the befuddled Christine down the side of her street. Image description: A back-on view of Khalee in a green hoodie. She is attached to a neon yellow leash that extends toward the camera. She is walking on some light snow that covers a driveway and a piece of curb.

In a few minutes of walking, with deep breaths of fresh air.

I began to feel better, my brain started to clear,

Now, Khalee’s to-do list was short, and she sure took her time,

A light haired dog sniffs the ground on a snow covered path.
Khalee investigates every path very closely. A cat might have passed here once and you can’t risk sniffing out that kind of info. Image description: Khalee, a light-haired dog in a green hoodie, attached to a neon yellow leash, is sniffing a snow-covered path.

Sniffing and scouting to see what she could find.

Khalee, a light- haired dog in a green hoodie stands on the snow-dusted sidewalk and looks off to the right.​
Khalee also does above-ground surveillance. Image description: Khalee, a light- haired dog in a green hoodie stands on the snow-dusted sidewalk and looks off to the right.

As she ambled along following all her dog plans,

I came to realize I was in good doggy hands.*

By getting me outside, making me breathe the fresh air,

Khalee had banished brain clutter and helped make my thoughts clear.

As we headed to the bridge on the way back to our home,

Image description: Khalee, a light haired dog in a green hoodie, is facing away from the camera, walking across a snow-covered ​path toward a small bridge.
Khalee leads the way towards home. Home is where we keep our snacks and a snack is the next thing on Khalee’s to-do list. Image description: Khalee is facing away from the camera, walking across a snow-covered path toward a small bridge.

I shaped my blog thoughts into this Pete-ish poem**

And then I filled it with photos of good Khalee pup,

to divert your attention from where I messed up.

So, my dear friends, if you are scattered, if your brain’s filled with bees,

Please take Khalee’s advice and walk to find ease.

You don’t need to move quickly, an amble will do,

It really helped me, may the same go for you.

A light-haired dog lies in a red leather chair facing the camera, she is resting her head in someone’s hand.
Life Coach Khalee accepts payment in ear scratches and snacks. It works out well for both of us. image description: Khalee is lying on her side in a red leather chair, her head is resting in my hand as I scratch behind her ear. My white-sleeved arm is visible at the bottom right.

*Er, paws are kind of hands, right?

**Pete is my Dad. Back in the day, he wrote this kind of light-hearted foolishness for birthday cards and office Christmas parties. I learned poetry-writing from an engineer, that should explain a few things.

Book Club · Book Reviews · dogs · fitness · walking

It’s Bluetoque time!

Two photos, side by side: Sam in her bluetoque, Cheddar on the walk. Text reads “Bluetoque, audiobook and after dinner dog walk.”

Christine blogged about hers first. We’re both big fans of our hats with bluetooth headphones built in. I think I even bought mine after reading her positive review because it turns out we were both struggling with the same thing–finding fully charged headphones and a hat and a dog leash, poop bags, and a dog (okay the dog part is easy). It was starting to get in the way of taking Cheddar out for a walk between meetings back when I was working from home.

Having one fewer thing to find was just what the doctor ordered. Also, between glasses and headphones and in the worst of the pandemic, masks, my ears were just too busy.

If you’ve got a 🐕 you’re out walking two or three times a day. Now luckily I’m not the only person walking Cheddar. I find with my painful knees I need something to distract me from pain while I’m out walking. Audio books do the trick.

Lately I’ve been making my way through everything Tana French has written. Some of her work I’ve read and some of it I’ve listened. Good both ways but they are excellent audio books. Currently listening to The Searcher, see image below.

Audio books have helped me increase the amount of fiction in my life. Sarah and I listen to books in the car while we drive back and forth to Prince Edward County. But mostly I listen to books while either cleaning the kitchen and/or walking Cheddar.

It’s helping me make progress with my Good Reads reading challenge even with my return to working in my office.

More bluetoque photos! Also blond dog and beautiful yellow fall leaves
accessibility · challenge · fitness · walking

We’ve made it to Saskatchewan!

We’ve got some fit feminist groups doing the PaarticipACTION challenge this year. You can read about our kick off here. There are at least two teams that I know of. Teams are limited to 8 so we had to break into groups.

My team has made it to Saskatchewan so far.

We’re in Saskatchewan in the ParticipACTION challenge.

So far I’m enjoying the challenge and the hope of winning the team trip to the Yukon. It’s been a good reminder for me to get out and walk everyday. I’m still biking lots too.

With my horrible end stage osteoarthritic knees, I’m never sure how much is too much. Yes, walking hurts but it’s not making things worse and I like being outside and walking with family members and our dogs.

Mallory, Sarah and I are considering a hiking back country camping trip this spring and I’m really curious to see if I can do it. Knee replacement seems to be on hold forever and I’ve got to get on with my life. I’m not sure if I’m just getting used to being in pain or if walking is actually less painful some days.

Here’s galleries from three of my walks since the challenge began!

Walk with London kids after emergency dental visit!
Beautiful fall colours on my morning walk with Cheddar
Mum and me and the dogs walking on one of the Guelph trails
fitness · nature · walking

Walking To Catch Up

I think I am developing a new Sunday habit – a walking chat.

Or maybe a chatting walk?

Either way, I’m having a great time catching up with friends while we walk along various trails in my community (and near by.)

A selfie - I’m sitting in the driver’s seat in my car wearing sunglasses, a black  baseball cap, and a blue fleece jacked with a Fastsigns logo. The sign is shining on the lower part of my face and I’m smirking.
I always bring my smirk on a walk. You know, just in case. Image description: A selfie – I’m sitting in the driver’s seat in my car wearing sunglasses, a black  baseball cap, and a blue fleece jacked with a Fastsigns logo. The sign is shining on the lower part of my face and I’m smirking.

In the Before Times, I probably would have just waited until we could swing a time to sit down together in someone’s house or a cafe and we’d catch up on each other’s lives while we snacked and drank tea.

I’m still strongly pro-snack (and pro-tea) but here in the During Times I don’t find it as relaxing to be in cafes or even in other people’s homes. I’ve met a few people for tea – sometimes on patios and sometimes inside – but I’ve also missed seeing a lot of people who I would normally catch up with in person every few months.

Recently, my friend Elaine wanted to bounce a few ideas off of me and I was about to suggest that we meet on Zoom on Sunday morning when I impulsively suggested that we meet for a walk instead.

As I was starting out on my ideas walk with Elaine that Sunday, my cousin Sheri, who I haven’t seen in ages, texted me about walking with her later that day. I jumped at the chance for two walks and two chats and I really had a relaxing, connected-feeling Sunday as a result.

This past week, my friend Sandy and I realized that we had gone too long without a chat and decided that this Sunday, we would take our conversation on the road. (Ok, so it was actually a path but it had the same effect.)

We did an hour’s walk and crammed in about 3 hours of conversation. I suspect that anyone overhearing us thought we were on fast- forward 😉

And, once again, my Sunday found me feeling relaxed and connected.

Two people's shadows among the shadows of leaves on a gravel pathway. There are fallen leaves among the gravel and there is a patch of greenery on the upper left side.
Sandy and I are VERY shadowy figures indeed. Please note that Sandy is not that much taller than me nor does she have a triangular head. Shadows can be deceiving. Image description: Our shadows among the shadows of leaves on a gravel pathway. There are fallen leaves among the gravel and there is a patch of greenery on the upper left side.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to cozy into a chair with my hands wrapped around a cup of tea and have in-depth conversation but right now those conversations aren’t as relaxing as they once were. I get distracted by the ambient anxiety of living in our Covid-world.

And Zoom chats are good but they can’t fully replace being in someone’s comforting and invigorating presence.

Walking to catch up is the perfect solution for me. I get to have a bit more movement in my day, I get to actually SEE my friends and, we get to have the sort of wandering and satisfying conversations you can really only have in-person. 

I’m definitely making plans to do this regularly and catch up with everyone I have been missing. 

Who’s up for a walk next Sunday?

A wide gravel path with trees and grass on both sides is in partial sunlight. A park bench painted in rainbow/Pride colours can be seen ahead on the right side.
This not the road less travelled, it’s the path we took! Image description: a wide gravel path with trees and grass on both sides is in partial sunlight. A park bench painted in rainbow/Pride colours can be seen ahead on the right side.
ADHD · dogs · fitness · meditation · mindfulness · walking

Christine and Khalee Try Walking Meditation

Ok, full disclosure: *I* was doing a walking meditation.

Khalee was just walking and sniffing everything and deciding where to pee…which is being really in the moment, I guess so she’s got this mindfulness thing sorted already.

I usually set out for my walk with one earphone in, using my walking time to hear some cool podcast stories that I would forget to make time to listen to otherwise.

Today, though, my mind was busy and I didn’t think I could focus on a story. So, I decided to try a new walking meditation that I bought last week.

Image description: Khalee, a medium-sized, light-haired dog on a neon yellow leash is standing on an asphalt path and looking back toward the camera. Christine’s feet in black and​ white sneakers can be seen at the bottom of the photo.
At this point, Khalee was doing a ‘waiting for Christine’ meditation practice. She has to do that one a lot. Image description: Khalee, a medium-sized, light-haired dog on a neon yellow leash is standing on an asphalt path and looking back toward the camera. Christine’s feet in black and white sneakers can be seen at the bottom of the photo.

I’ve tried to do walking meditation before, figuring that the movement would help me focus, but I found it was the opposite. Trying to make myself think about how my feet were landing, over and over, was enough to make my brain want to crawl out of my skull.

(Note: I have only tried two walking meditations before and they were both really foot-focused. Perhaps that was an unfortunate coincidence and most aren’t like that.)

Last week, thanks to a tweet from someone with ADHD requesting ideas for meditation, I came across a walking meditation from Anna Granta, an ADHD Coach from the UK.

I figured that a meditation from an ADHD coach would be a bit more tailored to someone with ADHD, and I was right!

For starters, she has a great voice. Lots of meditation leaders have voices that grate on my nerves but Granta’s is sensible, even, and friendly.

The meditation is short – less than 5 minutes from start to finish, including instructions.

And it’s very practical – leading the listener to tune into what they could see, hear, smell, and feel while they walked.

And once it was done, I kept my podcast off for the rest of my walk, noticing the sounds, smells, and the details of the sights around me.

It was a short practice but it was really refreshing. And it would be easy to do in the future.*

I returned from my walking feeling like I had untangled a knot in my brain.

Neurotypical people or those with an established meditation practice might find this practice too short or too quick but my ADHD brain loved it. It was short enough to feel doable, long enough to calm down a bit, and clear and inviting enough that I could keep practicing even after the audio finished.

I’ll definitely be using this meditation in the future. Not for every walk, because sometimes hearing a story is exactly what I need in a given moment, but I love having it close at hand for when my brain needs to smooth out a bit.

Khalee’s walking meditation was also successful. She left the house untroubled, returned the same way, and just walked when she was walking and sniffed while she was sniffing. She’s a mindfulness expert, really.

Image description: Khalee, a medium-sized, light-haired dog on a neon yellow leash is walking away from the camera while she sniffs the ground. She is standing on some grass and there are large decorative rocks a bit further ahead. Part of an asphalt path can be seen on the right side of the photo.​
Here’s Khalee during the sniffing part of her meditation practice. Image description: Khalee, a medium-sized, light-haired dog on a neon yellow leash is walking away from the camera while she sniffs the ground. She is standing on some grass and there are large decorative rocks a bit further ahead. Part of an asphalt path can be seen on the right side of the photo.

*Her instructions are clear and now that I have followed it once, easily done on my own even without the recording. I will still go back to it, though, to help me ease into the process.