The Joy of Walking

by Amanda Linehan on October 6, 2008

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.

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