Getting outdoors broadens perspectives and makes us appreciate the vastness of the world.
Walking creates connections, promotes learning, brings gratitude.
Walking increases productivity.
What do Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Aristotle have in common? Easy, you might think: a particularly brilliant mind and monstrous literary, artistic or scientific output. Of course, but not only that: all these geniuses particularly loved to do one thing: walk.
Of the benefits of walking-aside from the indisputable ones of allowing you to move from point A to point B in an environmentally friendly way-we have always told you. We can list so many of them: increased ability to memorize things, sharpening of the attention threshold, ability to relax the mind by allowing it to focus on less intimate and more general aspects (such as the beauty of nature), improved sleep and the ability to learn and think, increased creativity (and this explains why Darwin and Beethoven loved to walk).
Amazing how many things a simple walk can do, isn’t it?
I myself, in my very small way and having one millionth of the brain of those supreme poets and artists and scientists, when I feel my mind heavy or perceive that I cannot proceed in my work, I know there is only one solution: get out and walk. After all, some research confirms that even a few minutes are enough to have benefits, perhaps not physical (a few minutes is nothing in that respect) but certainly mental.
Five reasons to walk
Deborah Grayson Riegel summarized in the Harvard Business Review five reasons why walking is good. In short: if you lack the little bit of conviction that can drive you to leave your home or office to take a healthy walk, if you think doing so is a waste of time, if you think walking is useless because while you’re doing it your production collapses–think again, because that’s not the case at all. But let’s take a closer look in detail at Deborah Grayson Riegel’s advice.
1. Walk to give yourself perspective
Especially during the pandemic, living in confined spaces has also narrowed our existential perspectives. Getting outdoors and confronting-appreciating them-with broader and more boundless scenarios also allows one to broaden one’s perspectives, realizing not only how much we are not at the center of the universe, but also how infinite it is and how full of possibilities and variables, very often positive.
2. Walk to make (or keep) connections
One can walk with someone else, partly because the physical exertion required is moderate, and in the meantime, one can chat, discovering new people or deepening one’s knowledge of others in a novel way. If those who usually walk with us are far away, there is nothing to stop us from continuing to keep them close, at least by word: in fact, one can also walk by talking on the phone with those who are far away, perhaps even on another continent.
3. Walk to learn
If walking frees the mind from certain thoughts, it also does another thing: it makes room for new things, like the ones you can learn from observing the world or the city or listening to podcasts or audiobooks. By the way, our minds are particularly prone to receive information during walks, much more so than at other times of the day and in other ways.
4. Walk out of gratitude
Granted that giving thanks is an act that is good to practice many times a day in many areas (because you are fine, because you have something to eat etc. etc. – generally for anything that is neither due nor guaranteed, that is, for everything) walking is also a good reason to be thankful. Because you can do it being healthy, because it frees our mind to do it, because after doing it you will be much better off.
“Thank you” always remains one of the most beautiful words ever invented.
5. Walk to increase productivity
Do you think that when you walk you are less productive? Mmm, I say (and it’s not just me saying this) that when you are at work you may not be as productive as you think you are. Walking, on the other hand, you can still do so many other things: talk on the phone even about work (not having to consult papers in the meantime, except those that the cell phone screen allows you to view), take notes, store in voice notes ideas that come to you just about work.
Clearly, not all jobs allow you to walk, but many do, far more than we suspect.
I’m going to walk
I have come to regard walking as the best way to clear my head (besides running, of course), in a much more powerful way than other activities, certainly than being in an office or generally indoors.
Changing scenery helps a lot, coupling it with movement and the way the mind works at those junctures (focusing on different and varying details, being much more visually stimulated) make this activity one of the most effective for a thousand reasons, but in the end mainly for one: living better. With no expense and lots of yield.