The Joy of Walking

by Amanda Linehan on October 6, 2008 · 13 comments

in Best Of

Taking it all in.....
Creative Commons License photo credit: atomicpuppy68

Do you ever reach a point in the day when you feel like you just can’t think anymore?  Do you want to exercise more during the week but find it inconvenient to do so?  Are you too tired and stressed to hit the gym or go running after work?  If so, consider taking a walk.

Even though walking may seem slow and not painful enough to bring you any real benefits, walking is an activity that is not only beneficial, but can provide several benefits at once.  Next time you need a break or some exercise, take a walk.  Not everything needs to be punishment.

Walking is Good Exercise

It’s not going to put you in the same kind of shape as an Olympic athlete, but if you are someone looking for a general level of fitness and the health benefits that come along with that, walking is a great activity.  For instance, if you went out for a walk on your lunch break at work and walked at a moderate pace (3 mph) on a level surface, you would burn 136 calories (for a 130 lb person).  How many calories do you burn if you meant to go running, but were too tired to go?

Walking is Convenient

One of my favorite things about walking is that it does not require me to change my clothes (if I’m walking at a light/moderate pace).  This makes it a great activity to do at work or any other time when I have a spare 15 minutes.  Also, walking can be done in a lot of settings.  You can walk outside around your office building, you can walk in the mall, you can walk up stairs, or you can walk to the store.  Not to mention that your feet are actually a form of transportation.  If you live in an area that supports it, walking to get to where you need to go kills two birds with one stone.

Walking Brings Peace of Mind and Great Insights

If you are looking for a mental break in your daily routine, walking is peaceful and relaxing.  If you are walking outside – which I highly recommend as much as possible – being around nature has a way of changing your perspective.  That project that you are worried about, the one that you have no idea how to get started on, it suddenly seems much clearer to you.  Walking is also used as a form of meditation.  I don’t know why it works, but when you are alone and moving on autopilot (hopefully you don’t have to think about putting one foot in front of the other ) creative thoughts and insights just seem to come to you.

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

Last Thoughts…

If you are a runner and you love to run and you find it beneficial, then don’t stop.  But, if you are a runner and you find yourself making excuses for why you can’t (read:  don’t want to) run or you hate running to begin with or you’re just looking for some peace and calm, consider walking.  You can burn calories, spend time in nature, and become more mindful all at the same time while taking a break from work.  No pain, all gain.


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Evelyn Lim October 6, 2008 at 10:55 pm

I like the idea of walking against a scenic backdrop. Then again, there is beauty everywhere. Even in the little flowers that peek from the side of the road pavement on a busy street.

2 Sara at OnSimplicity October 6, 2008 at 11:51 pm

I think the peace of mind is the greatest benefit for me. I’ve started and stopped running for years after being a high school runner, but walking has less of a yo-yo effect for me.

3 Amber October 7, 2008 at 2:18 am

I have definitely fallen in love with walking. Living in san francisco you are forced to walk everywhere. Now I truly enjoy it though. It’s very meditative and allows you to stop and smell the roses. Thanks for sharing!

4 Peter James October 7, 2008 at 8:57 am

I love to go for walks with my wife. She finds such relaxation in it that it’s worth the time to go join her, even i fI am usually exhausted.

BTW…that pic is unreal…so beautiful

http://yinvsyang.com

5 Homemaker Barbi (Danelle Ice) October 7, 2008 at 2:48 pm

I love walking too! It’s such a calming activity, and so good for your mind and body.

I’m always advocating family walks on my site, and most recently published an article about family adventure walks. Starting when kids are young, you can get them to see walking as fun, not boring exercise.

Great point also about how convenient walking is. Thanks for the article!

Homemaker Barbi (Danelle Ice)

6 Hunter Nuttall October 7, 2008 at 6:57 pm

The day you posted this, I was actually taking my first walk since…well the first in a while! I found it to be a great mental break, because somehow great ideas come when you’re moving. Many people don’t spend enough time outside these days.

7 Amanda Linehan October 7, 2008 at 9:44 pm

Evelyn – I agree, there is beauty everywhere, and walking helps you notice it. :)

Sara – I also used to run, and just couldn’t keep up with it. I walk much more consistantly.

Amber – Yeah, walking really helps you slow down. Thanks!

Peter – That’s the great thing about walking – you can still do it when you’re tired. (It might even give you some energy.)

Danelle – Thanks! That’s a great idea to get kids started walking.

Hunter – Yeah, I don’t know what it is about moving and great thoughts, but they definitely go together!

8 Lance October 8, 2008 at 8:23 am

I do both – run and walk. For walks, I usually do this with someone else (my wife) and it’s a great time to really talk and re-connect after the day is done (or to start the day fresh). For running, I get a chance to clear my head, and it’s as good for my mental health as it is for my physical health. Good stuff Amanda!

9 asithi @ Small Steps to Health October 8, 2008 at 6:51 pm

My husband and I take a walk after dinner most evenings. It is very relaxing and gives us a chance to discuss things and bond. Most days I really look forward to it. Like Peter James said, most of the time he is exhausted, but he goes any way because it makes me happy.

10 Amanda Linehan October 8, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Lance – Walking is a great way to connect with other people.

Asithi – A lot of people are mentioning walking with loved ones and how the walk helps them connect. thanks for the comment!

11 Luma October 14, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Being active makes me forget all worries. I’m too focused on whatever activity i’m doing to be stressed. At work I watch nature clips at http://www.relaxwithnature.com It always works for me.

12 Dorothy October 19, 2008 at 6:47 pm

I know walking is great exercise, but I don’t feel as satisfied as when I get off the elliptical sweating bullets! Perhaps getting a step counter will do the trick. :)

13 Ari Koinuma October 21, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Every work day, I try to get up from my desk and walk around 3 times. I always think that walking is such a boring activity — but every time I do, I end up being glad I went (and it wasn’t as boring as I thought).

ari

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