A guide to walking alone or in a group
Whether you’re a chatty Kathy or solo strider, walking can be enjoyed in a variety of companies (including your own!). To get the most out of your outdoor venture and the company you find yourself in, we’ve put together a handy guide to get the most out of your experience.
The small-group sort
Get creative with rotation – small groups are perfect for rotating ideas and responsibilities. Take advantage of this by considering what each member could ‘plan’ for their allocated week, whether that be the route, destination, a homemade bake, random challenge (such as tackling a big hill one week) or anything else that keeps your group excited for the next walk.
If you belong to a larger walking group, it can be easy to form small social bubbles walk with the same people, at the same pace, every walk. Don’t be afraid to break the routine by speaking to other people – especially new members – or joining another group at a different pace. Whether physical or social, going outside of your comfort zone is almost always a good thing. This also goes for suggesting new ideas to your walking group committee (or if they don’t have one, forming one yourself!)
Many people walk alone to decompress after a busy day, or simply to be enjoy being by themselves. If you walk alone, why not try listening to some music for a new experience, or even a podcast or audiobook? Solo walking is also an opportunity to practice mindfulness or walking meditation, which has an array of benefits to health and wellbeing. An example of mindful walking could involve the following:
- Consciously engaging all the senses while walking, i.e. hear the sounds from the nearby playground, see the dog on the lead…
- Conscious breathing. Take a short walk with the focus being on taking slow, controlled breaths.
If you’re new to mindfulness or want to explore more, check out apps Headspace, Calm and Buddhify, which contain audio guidance and walking meditation.