A simple walk can offer a range of physical, health and mental benefits. Even better, it doesn’t need to be a long or even particularly vigorous walk. Simply walking for 10 minutes everyday can be enough to begin to have a positive impact on your health, wellbeing and creativity.
The Physical Benefits of Walking
Walking can be a fantastic way to burn calories and prevent weight gain, whilst also improving your fitness and building up your endurance and stamina over time. Moreover, regular walking can also reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, boost immune function and improve circulation.
It’s also a great choice for anyone looking to ease or reduce joint pain. Walking not only helps strengthen muscles, but it also lubricates the muscles that support the joints. In addition, regular walking can be an effective way to improve posture.
The Mental Benefits of Walking
Yet, aside from the physical benefits it offers, walking is also a highly effective and simple tool to support and improve mental wellbeing. Regular walking has been found to help improve mood, increase self-esteem and even reduce feelings of loneliness and social withdrawal symptoms.
Studies have also found that walking can be a highly effective strategy for coping with and reducing anxiety and depression. In particular, walking outdoors, especially in green spaces has been found to be especially effective at reducing negative thinking and boosting positive mental wellbeing.
Walking and Creativity
One of the greatest benefits of walking however, is that it helps to boost creative thinking. Walking itself is a fantastic strategy to use, particularly when you find yourself stuck on a problem. In particular, taking a walk anywhere outdoors has been found to be an effective way to help clear the mind.
As we walk outdoors, be it in a green space or taking a simple walk through a city or the surrounding streets, our mind is open and free to wander. We allow ourselves to be inspired by the things around us and become more receptive to wandering thoughts and solutions to problems we may have found ourselves previously stuck on. The very simple act of walking enables us to become open to a free flow of ideas and possibilities.
As we walk, we also increase the amount of oxygen flow through our body. This, alongside an increase in hormones such as cortisol, help to increase our energy levels. As a result, the very act of going for a walk can have an immediate effect in boosting our energy and improving our mood.
In particular, taking a walk outdoors, away from our desks, study material and screens can be extremely beneficial. It provides us with the opportunity to recharge and reset. A brief 10 to 15-minute walk can help relieve tension you may be unconsciously carrying and allow your mind the freedom to refocus.
The beauty of walking is that it only requires a commitment or willingness from you in order to do it. If you are planning on going for a long walk or walking over particularly tricky terrain, then appropriate footwear should be worn. However, in order to feel the benefits of walking, all you need is 10 to 15 minutes every day to get you started.
Try to make walking a habit and part of your daily activities. Schedule in a walking break. If you study or work from home, schedule in a break dedicated simply to walking outdoors. Alternatively, try to find ways to include walking into other activities. For example, walk part of the way to work or walk to the shops. Walk your children to school or meet a friend for a walk instead. You could even go on a regular family walk after school or at weekends or even join a walking group.
As we begin to think about ways to engage with the outdoors, we invite you to join us in taking a walk. If you have access to a local nature serve, a woodland, park, riverside or canal path, then take a walk in one of these spaces. Alternatively, take a walk around your local neighbourhood. You could even listen to some music if you find this more helpful.
If you find yourself becoming frustrated, irritable or simply stuck, go for a walk. Make a conscious decision to simply pause for 15 minutes, re-energise and refocus. If you can, try to make walking a regular part of your weekly schedule. Find opportunities to walk and make taking a stroll an enjoyable and fun family activity that you can all participate in together.
Allow your mind to wander freely during your walk and be open and receptive to inspiration along your route. Take the time to simply notice the impact it has upon you, your mood, your creativity and your physical wellbeing.