We all know how important it is to get our steps in — especially if we sit at a desk for the majority of the day — but getting to our feet isn’t always a top priority with a jam-packed schedule. In the midst of back-to-back meetings and pressing deadlines, reserving time for a mid-afternoon stroll or post-dinner walk doesn’t always feel feasible. That’s where your Microstep comes in. By adding a too-small-to-fail change to your existing routine — like getting off the subway, bus, or train a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way home — you’ll be on your way to move movement in no time, plus you’ll experience some additional benefits you might not expect.
Taking an outside stroll can help lower stress
Nature isn’t just nice to look at — it can help us deal with stress, too. Research published in Frontiers in Psychology has found that walking in nature can cause a significant drop in the stress hormone cortisol. For optimal stress reduction, MaryCarol Hunter, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Michigan and the lead author of the study, suggests getting outside for 20-30 minutes at a time. Stepping off of public transportation a stop earlier is a great way to make sure you take that “nature pill” every day.
Extra steps can ease the harmful side effects of sitting
It’s become common knowledge that sitting at a desk all day is pretty detrimental to our physical health. According to the Mayo Clinic, one analysis found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to those posed by smoking and obesity. Other outcomes of “sitting disease” include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and depression, which is why making sure you get enough movement each day is especially important if you work a desk job. According to the Harvard Health Blog, just 25 minutes of physical activity (walking counts!) can help offset the negative negative health effects of sitting all day.
Walking is a catalyst for creative thinking
If you’re feeling stuck, adding some extra steps to your routine is sure to get your creative juices flowing. A Stanford University study found that walking can boost “creative ideation” and out-of-the-box thinking. What’s more, the researchers found that participants were able to come up with more novel ideas when walking, rather than sitting down. It turns out hopping off the train or bus and walking those last few blocks could lead you to your next “aha” moment at work.
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