Walking is doable, and regular exercise has awesome health benefits.
The nice thing about taking a short walk, even just 20 to 30 minutes a day, is that it’s something everyone can do. No matter your age, your level of fitness or health, or what your life circumstances may be, you should be able to work a short walk into your daily routine. You don’t need special clothes, a gym membership, or even an extra hour or two a day to devote to exercise. Just a short walk each day can dramatically improve your health, lowering blood pressure, reducing risk of disease, and even increase longevity.
Once taking a short walk becomes a habit, this time can be quite enjoyable. This isn’t about “pushing your body” or yourself too hard — this should be pleasant, even for folks who don’t love exercise. But, even though walking is relatively easy and often quite enjoyable, the health benefits are pretty awesome.
Walking helps us think in a way other types of activity or exercise can’t. Maybe it’s because of the meditative rhythm of our feet and our movement through the world. Maybe it has something to do with taking the time to appreciate fresh air and the scenery, at our own pace. Whatever the case may be, walking can definitely help us think in a new, fresh, clear way. There’s something special about the way that we process everything when we’re walking.
“Walking at our own pace creates an unadulterated feedback loop between the rhythm of our bodies and our mental state that we cannot experience as easily when we’re jogging at the gym, steering a car, biking, or during any other kind of locomotion,” writes Ferris Jabr at The New Yorker. “When we stroll, the pace of our feet naturally vacillates with our moods and the cadence of our inner speech; at the same time, we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down.”
You’ll sleep better.
It’s crucial in today’s fast-paced world that all workers think about ways to control and reduce their stress levels. Perhaps the most direct and important way to achieve this is to be sure to get enough sleep. This isn’t always easy when we’re stressed though — stress can lead to lack of sleep which can lead to more stress, and thus a sleep-stress cycle continues and makes us feel terrible. One way to help get yourself off that track is to take a walk. Walking has been shown to help people sleep longer and sounder at night, which in turn leads to better energy levels during the day. This makes you a more rested and energetic worker. Walking could help you work more efficiently, and you’ll think clearer and feel better too.
Walking enhances creativity.
Science has confirmed, through a battery of studies, that regular exercise improves memory and executive functioning. It helps people think more clearly, and it allows us to better organize our thoughts and make good decisions. Now, research also suggests that walking, specifically, enhances creativity. A study out of Stanford’s Graduate School of Education found that, when participants walked on a treadmill, at their own pace, they were able to generate more creative, novel, but also useful and practical ideas. It didn’t even matter whether the walking took place outdoors or on a treadmill facing a blank wall — it was the walking itself that mattered.
Perhaps there is a certain magic in the special combination of benefits that walking carries with it. Our moods improve, our breathing regulates, and our thoughts fall into a kind of synchronized rhythm with the pace of our wanderings. Or, maybe it’s just that humans were meant to walk upright for part of the day and there is something about that practice that grounds us and redirects our energies in a positive way. Whatever the case may be, the only way to find out how walking each day will change your life and boost your career is to give it a try for yourself. It can’t hurt, and you probably won’t have reason to regret it.
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