Taking a daily walk is recommended as a great way to exercise. But did you know that it can also impact your mental health?
Walking is less rigorous than other forms of exercise and is usually an activity that most people can do. This makes it a universal activity with benefits that can go beyond the physical impact it will have on your body.
Let’s look at why you should walk often and make it a part of your routine. We’ll especially focus on the mental and emotional benefits you can get from it.
Walking brings out your creativity
Many creative artists, writers, and inventors are also keen walkers. Friedrich Nietzche is credited with saying –
All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking
Julia Cameron, Natalie Goldberg, and many other well-known writers use walking as a way to connect with their creative side.
They strongly counsel their students to talk daily walks as a way to spend time with themselves. According to Julia Cameron, the process of walking is a basic tool to unlock your creative mind.
Whether you’re a business owner trying to find more customers, a painter looking for inspiration, or if you’re just looking for contentment in life, walking helps you get unstuck.
It’s also important that you take your walks alone. When you’re walking on your own, you’re able to process your thoughts better and explore what matters to you.
Here’s what another prolific writer, Brenda Ueland, has to say about walking –
I will tell you what I have learned myself. For me, a long five- or six-mile walk helps. And one must go alone and every day. I have done this for many years. It is at these times I seem to get re-charged.
Create a change of pace
Now that our social lives and interactions are restricted due to the current pandemic, we’re more likely to feel unhappy since we’re at home all the time.
Talking a walk, with due precautions, gives you a change of pace and removes you from your home environment – which can feel stifling if you’re in it for too long.
It’s especially rejuvenating when you can walk outdoors and spend some time in nature. Communing with nature is an assured way to improve your mental and emotional health. You’ll also find yourself coming up with new creative ideas for your personal hobbies, for business and work solutions, and ideas for content.
Walking releases endorphins
Like other exercises, going on a vigorous walk for even 20 minutes can encourage your brain to release endorphins. These hormones give you a boost of energy and help you feel good.
Although walking doesn’t seem like the type of activity that can be demanding, you can certainly feel challenged if you know how to work with it.
Try to walk across places where the ground rolls in a safe way, this can force you to exert yourself more. You can also change the pace and increase how fast you walk and move your arms to increase blood flow.
As you exercise your body in this way, you’ll feel the natural benefits that come from moving your body.
Create more ‘dots’ of knowledge
I previously mentioned how writer Julia Cameron suggested walking as a way to enhance your creativity. Another way that walking helps is by getting you to explore more of your environment.
As you walk, you can try different paths and traverse through spaces you’ve never been to before in a safe way.
As you learn more and observe more of the places, objects, and people around you, you’ll have more fuel for inspiration. New information creates knowledge ‘dots’ in your mind and by connecting these ‘dots’, you can make something new.
Creating new things from existing knowledge is creativity in action and walking is a physical means that support this creative process.
Walking can be emotionally and mentally transformative
As you walk and exercise, you’ll find that you’ll sleep better and reduce your stress levels and decrease anxiety.
It’s also been found that you can improve your cognitive functioning and brain connectivity by taking daily walks.
So, make it a point to walk on every day and make it a necessary part of your routine. As you get into the habit, you’ll find that the emotional benefits far outweigh the physical ones and it will soon become an activity you can’t do without.