How are your mornings? Do you meet the day feeling confident and calm, or do you roll out of bed feeling like you’re already behind on your to-do list?
If you want to change the way you wake up, try going for a walk in the morning! It can be a great way to jump-start your day and activate your body and brain.
According to eastern medicine, exercising in the morning is best for your natural energy cycle. Morning exercise can help counteract tendencies towards sluggishness, heaviness or mental fog. And even if it’s not in the morning, daily exercise can help you feel more energized and clear-headed.
A study by the Boston University Medical Research Center showed results that 10 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity was linked to better cognition and verbal memory. The study also suggests walking more total steps per day is linked to better executive function in older adults.
Only about 23% of Americans get enough exercise. The CDC suggests adults walk between 7,000 - 8,000 steps daily to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of weekly moderate activity. By taking a brisk morning walk, you’ll have hit almost half of your daily steps in no time.
Not only does going for a walk naturally energize your mind and body, but it also stimulates important acupressure points on the bottom of your feet known as the Yongchun points.
The Yongchun point is located near the center of the sole of the foot, in the slightly concave area just behind the ball of the foot.
Based on concepts from the traditional art of reflexology, the sole of the foot is energetically connected to all the organs in our body through meridians. By stimulating the soles of your feet you can stimulate all your internal organs, including your brain!
As you walk, focus on the feeling of pressure on your Yongchun points. It can help you to ground and circulate your physical, mental, and emotional energy.
1. Find a quiet spot where you can focus on your body, ideally in nature.
2. Walk slowly, relaxing your body as you go. Maintain a sense of balance as you move, standing tall with your shoulders directly above your hips. Resist the urge to rush or lean forward while keeping your weight balanced slightly on the front of your feet.
3. As you press down on the Yongchun point of your foot, be aware of a feeling of pressure on the top of your head. This is a way of being more mindful of your body.
4. If possible, find a place and time for barefoot walking, especially in nature. If you’re lucky enough to have one close by, the beach is a great option. Or try barefoot walking on backyard grass or even on a sidewalk. This can really help you to awaken the sensation in your feet for more energy.
Here’s one more tip- during your day, set a timer so that you get up and move at regular intervals. Whether you’re at work or at home, sitting too long can diminish healthy blood flow to your brain and body. So break up those long periods of sitting and stimulate your feet with a quick walk.
It’s clear there is a strong connection between stimulating the soles of your feet, staying active, and the function of your brain. Increasing blood flow and boosting your cognitive function can be as simple as a walk in the park - literally!