20 Nov The Power of Walking
Back in March, before the whole world began tackling the pandemic, we shared a piece on Urban hikes for mental health. We discussed the power of walking and how it’s a great thing to invest in to enable a happy mind and a healthy body.
Fast forward eight months, and a world turned on it’s head, and I think it’s worth revisiting the concept. Many of us have looked to exercise to get us out of the house in between work and play. Walking has become our commute, it has become our processing time. I walked on the seafront this morning and saw walkers (and at least 25 swimmers!) out and about at the crack of dawn getting in some movement before the day ahead.
In a session I ran earlier this week for the brilliant ACEVO, I shared some stats about the power of walking:
‘One Stanford University study found that walking increased creative output by an average of 60 percent. Researchers labelled this type of creativity “divergent thinking,” which they define as a thought process used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. According to the study, “walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.”
Which makes sense, since science shows that engaging in activities that allow our minds to wander promotes a mental state conducive to innovative ideas and “ah-ha!” moments.
But it’s not only your creativity that will benefit from the mental lift. The act of walking is also a proven mood booster. One study found that just 12 minutes of walking resulted in an increase in joviality, vigor, attentiveness and self-confidence versus the same time spent sitting. Walking in nature, specifically, was found to reduce ruminating over negative experiences, which increases activity in the brain associated with negative emotions and raises risk of depression.
Walking has also been shown to improve memory and prevent the deterioration of brain tissue as we age. Plus, psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression also suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout when it comes to relieving the symptoms of anxiety and boosting mood.’ Click here for the full article
So if you haven’t considered incorporating a walk into your daily routine it might be worth shifting things around to include one. It’s important we think of as many ways as possible to enable our wellbeing at the moment. It might mean we need to adorn ourselves with visibility vests because it’s effectively dark all.the.time. But let’s do it, let’s get out there, reduce anxiety, increase creativity and boost our mood.
With love as always, Hannah and Team Bird