A sedentary lifestyle, especially when working remotely, is like being in sleep mode. Without movement, we gain weight, lose energy, and think poorly. Neither the muse, nor productivity, nor the desire to tear ourselves off the couch visits us.
If the schedule includes at least a couple of yoga classes or with a trainer in a fitness club, that’s already great. But if you are not a sports fan or it seems to you that there is no time for this, there is one cool “tool” that I have been using for years – mindful walking. Here are 11 reasons to get out of the house and take a short walk.
- Get an aerobic workout
Walking is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to get the exercise you need. I will not load you with the results of various studies. Just know: walking of any intensity has a positive effect on your body.
It helps to keep fit, activates metabolism and promotes weight loss. And, as rightly noted by the author of the book “Light yourself up!” John Ratey , walking puts us into active mode – we stop sitting at home in a state of loneliness and stagnation.
And if you want to start running, then walking is an excellent preparatory stage. Tested on myself.
- Live happily ever after
The author of the book “Blue Zones” Dan Buettner assures: walking is the key to longevity. To draw this conclusion, for several years he talked with centenarians around the world and studied their way of life.
For example, 100-year-old inhabitants of Sardinia have never visited fitness centers, have not run marathons or pumped the press. Instead, they herded sheep while hiking on mountain slopes and hilly terrain. On the day they walked the distance that many of us have to overcome to get to the place of work (only we do this by private car, taxi or public transport).
Right now, centenarians are slowly walking up and down their towns and villages. Every trip to the store, church, or bar is a new uphill, downhill, pleasant stroll, and life-extending workout.
- Pump your brains
While walking, you train your heart and lungs, and oxygen is actively supplied to the tissues of the body and brain. So the brain starts to work better. Therefore, if it seems that you are starting to ” blunt “, take a walk. It always helps me.
- Get a good dose of happiness and motivation
While walking, our body produces dopamine – one of the hormones of happiness. It is he who makes us happier and more curious: the level of motivation, patience and optimism rises in us, we are drawn to learn something new. Dopamine is the hormone that helps to consolidate good habits and less likely to do something useless and harmful to the body.
And when we go out into the sunlight, the body produces more serotonin. This is another hormone of happiness that gives us a feeling of joy and cheerfulness.
- Clear your head and find a solution
Many people know that walking is a great way to clear your head. Here is what Julia Cameron writes about this in her book Long Walks: “It was during a difficult period of loss of orientation in both my personal and creative life that I discovered the power of walking to bring relief and help find solutions to problems. Day after day, walk after walk, step by step, my sad and confused life began to straighten out. I said straighten up because all I did consciously was just keep walking. And I haven’t stopped doing it ever since.”
“Keep walking” is great advice, whatever your problem is.
In The Book of Joy, Archbishop Desmond Tutu talks about walking as a form of meditation . He has been in the habit of walking for many years.
The main thing in a meditative walk is to turn off all external stimuli. Neither music, nor conversations, nor a smartphone should distract you. Tit Nhat Khan describes this practice beautifully in his book “Peace in Every Step”: you need to shake off all worries and anxieties, not think about the future and the past, rejoice here and now.
Don’t set yourself a goal to get somewhere. It is only important to be in the present moment and enjoy every step, realizing that you are breathing and walking.
Walk, walk, as if you are the happiest creature on Earth.
When meditating outdoors, go a little slower than usual and focus on your breath. For example, take three steps to inhale and three to exhale. You can repeat to yourself: “Inhale, inhale, inhale. Exhale, exhale, exhale.”
- Find inspiration and come up with something unusual
Julia Cameron recommends walking for at least 20 minutes a week, because these walks help focus thoughts and stimulate creative breakthroughs. Especially if you turn a walk into a creative date with yourself. I have no reason not to trust this advice.
- Get Vitamin D
We spend too little time outdoors, but natural light is vital to us. When sunlight hits the skin, vitamin D is actively produced. Due to vitamin D deficiency, depression (not only seasonal) and insomnia can occur. Exposure to sunlight really improves mood, so if the sun is shining, give yourself a gift, walk at least one stop from work to home on foot.
- Get some fresh air
Yes, you may think that the gassed streets of the city are not the best place for outdoor walks. But even indoors, the air may not be better: we breathe mold spores, dust, microscopic remains of animal hair. Throw in radon, formaldehyde, and other toxic gases from cleaners, building materials, and furniture.
We breathe in more fresh air during long walks than when we sit indoors. So get out of the offices, it’s not that bad.
- Improve sleep quality
After reading What is Lagom, I go out for an evening walk and say that I am doing a quells promenade . So the Swedes call a walk before going to bed. They usually go out after dinner and walk near the house. Physically and psychologically prepare for sleep.
Short and leisurely walks really help to relax and clear our heads (= turn off the internal radio, which often keeps us awake). Try it. The main thing is not to do anything later that can negatively affect the quality of sleep: do not watch TV, do not browse social networks, do not eat anything sugary. Take a shower and go to bed – and then quality sleep is guaranteed to you.
Instead of sitting at a bar with a friend, take him for a walk. Communication is one of the most reliable and universal means of promoting health and finding happiness. And complete with all of the above brings a double effect. You will be surprised, but even introverts feel more comfortable among people, the main thing is that the person be as pleasant as possible to you.
For example, I like to come to my parents for their evening walk through the pine forest. For us, this is a great way to communicate and be together without being distracted by external stimuli.
No time to walk?
Do not make me laugh. Time for walking can be carved out by taking the subway one stop less or leaving the house a few minutes early in the morning and, forgoing the usual short taxi ride, walk the desired distance. You can walk in the afternoon or in the evening before going to bed, at least 20 minutes a day.
Later I will talk about how you can diversify walks and make them more interesting and useful. In the meantime, just get out of the house and know that how and when you walk means less than what you walk at all.