Thomas Jefferson claimed the purpose of walking is to clear mind of thoughts. ‘The object of walking is to relax the mind, therefore, you should not permit yourself even to think while you walk. But divert your attention by the objects surrounding you.”
Scientific studies have shown the psychological benefits of walking. In a series of studies at the university of Essex, researchers found that 94 percent of those who took part -walking, running, cycling, gardening – saw mental health benefits.
People with a sitting job are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those with standing jobs. (and I just had my 10th hour in front of computer today..). A study by University of Illinois, shows that walking 3 times a week for 40 minutes helps combat the effects of aging and increases brain connectivity & cognitive performance.
Some companies already use walking meetings as they have seen the benefits of creative thinking by walking. In a survey (you can read more here), those who participate in walking meetings are 5.25% more likely to report being creative at their jobs than those who do not and 8.5% more likely to report high levels of engagement. Of course, not all meetings are available for walking but could happen in those that you look for possible solutions or decision making.
Walking in nature
Spending time in nature also, makes us more generous and more community oriented. On another research it is mentioned that those who live within one kilometer of a park or a wooden area suffer lower rates of depression & anxiety than those who don’t. But even if it’s not close to you you can have some time on weekends to take a walk in nature.
Anti aging benefits of walking
Another research, presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress, showed that those who engaged in daily moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk or jog, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and strength training, experienced anti-aging benefits that could add an additional three to seven years to your life.
As we almost spend 10-12 hours daily sitting we can find some time to move it, move it. If the sun is out there we can benefit twice from our walk as it’s a nice opportunity to have some vitamin D.
The little things
Be aware of your posture, try to keep it natural
Try barefoot walking (on a beach or on a safe ground of grass), feel the earth from your feet, also known as grounding.
You can have an audio book i your mp3 apart music or even a kind of meditation.
“The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours …but it is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day.” Henry David Thoreau
”All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Though Nietzsche & Thoreau didn’t have smartphones and strict deadlines to meet, we are sure of the benefits that walking offers. It helps us we become healthier, clear our minds, reconnect with nature and ourselves and expand our creative thinking.