When thinking about my possible talking point today I thought of something lighter in comparison to my latest posts. My joy for walking! I thought I would share some of my insights drawn from my favorite activity to encourage some of you guys to take up this easy past time too.
First off, I am from a walking family. Daily dog walks, weekly Sunday hikes, and vacation walking tours were some of the regular highlights from my childhood. Yet, funnily enough, half of these memories in the moment were less than enjoyable. I used to have to be bribed with iHop to prevent a tantrum on the hikes, found dog walks more annoying than beneficial, and would scoff at any walking in general.
So, how did these hissy fits do a 180?
I believe it was a combination of factors.
First off, COVID had a big influence toward my attitude on outdoor activity. What's that saying we always want what we can't have? That was how I think we all felt in the early shut-down days where we were forbidden from doing most activities, except walking outside! Needless to say, this unprecedented event instigated a regular walking routine with my dog multiple times a day, for the first time primarily by choice instead of obligation.
I would say 2020 was when I initially discovered the joys of walking for myself. The calm it brought through low impact movement was one of the biggest perks. In addition to the creative space it opened up for my mind as I used Mother Nature as my sound board for brainstorms.
Backing up to the bigger picture:
The exercise of walking is also immensely beneficial for one's health. It provides full body impact that is maintainable, and sustainable for most body types and ages.
As the infographic to the right shows, walking can be a very useful tool for us all to improve our wellness.
Few other options provide the cardiovascular and mental benefits simultaneously like walking.
One study from Stanford cited that even 30 minutes of footwork a day can improve one's creativity by 60% (Journal of Experimental Pyschology.) With another study from Harvard finding a 31% reduction in one's risk of cardiovascular events from walking regularly (Harvard Health.) While also decreasing your chances of obesity and your overall carbon foot print ,it really is amazing how many variables are improved by a regular walking routine.
How Can We Establish A Walking Routine?
In the age of hybrid work, a lot of us, including myself, are finding ourselves out of the office and in our homes more days than not during the week. This provides an optimal opportunity for establishing and upholding a regular walking routine. Like all things in life intention breeds consistency, so one of the first steps is simply establishing an intention for movement during the day. Then, the question becomes not if we will go out for a walk, but when!
From that intention we can then find the best routine that fits your schedule. Maybe Monday you are only free after your day is completed, so an after-hours stroll works best, while Wednesday's you have more free time in-between morning calls. Flexibility is a major key for success in maintaining routines, and in fact can improve your longterm consistency, so find a mix that works for you.
As for me, I will continue using my walks as scheduled time to log off and tune in throughout the sedentary working life. Being one with myself and Mother Nature is especially nice when the summer weather makes outdoor activity even more refreshing!
Like the Winter Warlock famously said "with one foot in front of the other soon we'll be walking out the door!"
Until Next Time!
Oppezzo, Marily, and Daniel L. Schwartz. “Give Your Ideas Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking.” Journal of Experimental Pyschology, vol. 40, no. 4, ser. 1142-1152, 2014, pp. 1144–1144. 1142-1152, 2014.
Publishing, Harvard Health. “Walking: Your Steps to Health.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/walking-your-steps-to-health.