Be Healthier, More Creative & Less Stressed
I’m sure we’ve all had that one relative who claims to have stayed fit by always taking the stairs, or always walking to work, but is simple walking really that life altering? How much difference could 5 minutes of walking really make?
We All Need Physical Activity
It’s no secret that all people need to have physical activity. In fact, it’s recommend that adults are active for 300 minutes (5hours) per week. Too much sitting, something we end-up doing a lot of at the office (or lately at home with Covid-19), leads us down the road of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and different cancers. There is good news though, and it doesn’t involve spending hours on a treadmill.
“Walking can be as good as a workout, if not better, than running,” says Dr. Matt Tanneberg, CSCS, a sports Chiropractor and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in Phoenix, Arizona who works with elite athletes.
A 2013 study found that briskly walking vs running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. And another study showed that walking groups improved blood pressure, reduced body fat and body weight, reduced cholesterol, improved depression and increased endurance.
That is very encouraging, especially for those who haven’t kept much of an excercise regime before. Walking is an excellent place to start working on your health.
That is amazing. I’m sure you’ve been like me, trying to solve a problem at work, or come up with a creative social media post, and the ideas are just stuck. Instead of forcing the issue, get up and go for a walk to get those problem solving and creative juices flowing.
More Than Just Physical Health
So we know about the physical benefits, but what about the mental benefits of walking?
While doing a walking interview with The Guardian, Neuroscientist Shane O’Mara explained how our brain changes when we walk. “There are all sorts of rhythms happening in the brain as a result of engaging in that kind of activity, and they’re absent when you’re sitting. One of the great overlooked superpowers we have is that, when we get up and walk, our senses are sharpened. Rhythms that would previously be quiet suddenly come to life, and the way our brain interacts with our body changes.”
In a study done by Stanford University, it was found that “Walking had a strong influence on the expression of associative memory. People presented more ideas, and the ideas tapped each person’s unique associative network, which led to an increase in novelty compared with other people’s ideas.” They also found that “walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.”
Walking Boosts Your Mood
A study done through Iowa State University concluded that a walk, regardless of the initial reason for going on one, increased a persons mood. According to psychologists, a 10-minute walk can be just as good as a 45-minute workout, when it comes to relieving stress and anxiety. They go as far as to say that a brisk walk can provide several hours of relief and compare it to taking an aspirin for a headache! How incredible!
How Long Should We Walk?
While more activity throughout the week is always better, short little walks are also incredibly beneficial. In a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, it was found that those who moved in short bursts, but multiple times a day, cut their mortality risk in half! That’s great news, because it seems we just get busier and busier, and taking short quick breaks throughout the day, is more manageable then putting aside an entire hour.
So now you have no excuses. Grab those comfy shoes and start walking. Experience for yourself how your physical, mental and emotional health will improve.
Quick Tips To Walk At Work
If you’re busy at work, here are some great tips to help you put a little walking in your day:
-Schedule your walk during your lunch hours and coffee breaks and keep them like you would a regular appointment
-Keep a pair of walking shoes at your desk so you are always ready to go walking
-If you take public transportation get off a stop earlier so you can walk the rest of the way to work or home
-Walk back and forth from the kitchen to your desk a few times while the coffee is brewing
-Start a walking club with your co-workers; it’s more fun to walk in groups plus you can bounce those new creative ideas of each other
-Keep on track by competing with coworkers to see who can get the most steps in a day
-Go up and down the stairs at work instead of taking the elevator