Walking - The most underrated of activities
The key to any good walk is being present, aware and open.
I'm paraphrasing from an awesome chapter in the book "Stillness Is The Key" by Ryan Holiday, I love this sentiment. Does walking serve a purpose for you other than simply getting you from A to B or increasing your step count for the day to beat your previous best day?
In 2008, Lee and Buchner concluded that "Walking is a simple health behavior that can reduce rates of chronic disease". A simple health behaviour....no unnecessary complications; like counting calories or measuring heart rate.
Did you know that going out for a walk after a meal has been shown to help lower blood sugar levels whilst also limiting the peak in blood sugar levels too (Reynolds et al., 2016). Walking also helps to active the parasympathetic nervous system, helping to aid digestion.
Investor and blogger Peter Adeney, aka Mr Money Mustache, pays homage to walking for helping him make decisions, including allowing him to retire at 30! The poet William Wordsworth walked around 5-6 miles every single day no wonder one of his most famous pieces of work is " I wandered lonely as a cloud". Stanford University conducted research suggesting enhancements in creative and divergent thoughts stem from spending time walking.
For Peter, he also notes the happiness in getting outdoors in a podcast episode with Tim Ferriss. Do you get a sense of happiness from spending your time outdoors? A study from 2019 published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that outdoor walking groups helped to "dampen the effects of at least one stressful life event". Duke University also determined that walking was as effective a treatment for depression as medication in some population. Edwards and Lopinzi (2018) discovered that a combination of just 10 minutes of brisk walking (self reported pacing) and meditation improved mental state in comparison to a inactive control group.
So next time you are out walking thinking about how many steps you have taken, or how quickly you need to get to your next meeting, let you mind instead become present and aware and allow the physical activity in your body to get your brain going!