"All truly great thoughts were conceived when walking” — Friedrich Nietzsche
There are a lot of exercise apps and suggestions to pass the time during this very strange moment. Walking is one of the few activities that is both legal and free right now — and thankfully, walking is great for people who are trying to make changes in their life!
If you have ever spoken to a counsellor about changing drinking or drug habits, they will more than likely have suggested that you take a walk when the urge rises. At Counselling Online, we also love a good walk.
Why? There are actually a lot of reasons.
Some are profound. Jono Lineen, the author of the book Perfect Motion: How Walking Makes Us Wiser says:
“Walking physically reconnects us with humanity’s greatest story (our evolution as a species) and reminds us that nothing worthwhile was every achieved without learning from failure and reveling in triumph over and over again – one step at a time.”
Other benefits are more practical. Most people have heard of the physical benefits of walking from the 10,000 per day steps campaign. Walking strengthens our hearts, builds our lung capacity and tones our muscles. It is helpful for aching joints and helps moderate our blood pressure. Most exercise is good for us, but walking is also low-impact, accessible and free!
The mental health benefits of walking are often overlooked.
- Walking increases the flow of beneficial proteins called neurotrophins to the brain, improving memory.
- Research has shown that walking improves creativity. When walking people can achieve a state of flow. This is where we lose our sense of self and enter an almost meditative state which allows us to view things from a different perspective. It can literally help you ‘think on your feet’.
- Walking also reduces stress. It increases the flow of such neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) as dopamine, serotonins and others to our brains and by lowering our brain wave frequency. This flow helps us to enter the beneficial meditative state.
- Walking is what our bodies were made to do. and it thereby increases our confidence.
- Walking also builds resilience — the ability to bounce back when life is challenging. It will help you approach everyday problems with a quieter and more open mind.
Walking around your neighbourhood may also put you in touch with not only the gardens and trees your area but also may enable you to meet your neighbours who may be as anxious as you to talk to someone over the garden fence — from an appropriate distance, of course. A side effect of walking may be getting to know the people who live in your community.
Many people say an early morning walk is the best — the air is fresher, they say — but any time is good. You might even prefer a starlit walk once others are asleep.
So step out your front door, and put one foot in front of the other. You may enjoy where it takes you.
Get in touch to let us know how it goes!