In an article titled “Recovering from Long Covid,” the writers–a doctor and a health reporter–offers lifestyle changes as a remedy, instead of drugs, specifically exercise and meditation. Speaking of the two together, “the human body is one organic equilibrium that requires a balance of movement and stillness. If our movement and stillness be dynamically balanced well, our brain benefits from such dynamic equilibrium quite a lot.” Exercise and meditation are the yin and yang of self-improvement. It’s crazy how often the two practices pop up in health studies and practical self-help books. They let you tap into your potential.
While exercise, on first glance, promotes physical health, it’s also a way to relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and build confidence, among other positive effects on mood and mental health. Meditation, conversely, is primarily thought of as a way to quiet the mind and acquire inner peace, but it has also demonstrated a positive effect on blood pressure and heart health, and decreases inflammatory response. The two practices reinforce each other. In the body, everything’s connected.
One way I combine the two is in a post-lunch walk, the favorite exercise of the elderly. First off, walking after a meal helps digestion, raises serotonin levels, and lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Also, the sun’s strength is at its highest around noon so only 20-30 minutes of direct exposure is enough.
I turn walking into something meditative by focusing on its physical sensations–the way my foot bends with each step, the way my legs move, the way my hips rotate and shoulder sway with each pace, taking each sensation one at a time and then all at once, together, while looking ahead and not judging whatever’s in my field of vision. I’m only doing this for stretches in every other lap during the 20 minute window where the yard is still empty enough to do this kind of meditative walking.