Learn, Share, Grow - Don't Underestimate the Power of a Walk
February 27, 2023
Below is a lesson from Harvard Business Review on walking with purpose, as well as our key learnings.
The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth. We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”. We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning. As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Walk
by Deborah Grayson Riegel
February 02, 2021
Walking is one of the simplest and most strategic things you can do for yourself. It takes little preparation, minimal effort, no special equipment, and it can contract or expand to fit the exact amount of time you have available. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a single bout of moderate-to-vigorous activity (including walking) can improve our sleep, thinking, and learning while reducing symptoms of anxiety. When we go for a walk, we perform better on tests of memory and attention; our brain cells build new connections, staving off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age; we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down; and our attention is left to meander and observe, helping us generate new ideas and have strokes of insight.
Several years ago, I was watching a Today Show segment about helping your children and teens create healthy habits. The subject of the piece was a notable nutritionist whose kids were reluctant to eat their greens and work up a sweat. The most memorable quote came from one of her preteens, who said, “Walking makes me sad.”
I must admit that if I think about choosing between catching up on watching The Crown or walking, walking would make me sad, too. In fact, if I had to choose between walking and any of my not-so-guilty pleasures — like baking triple-chocolate brownies or shopping for Japanese pancake molds online (they’ll arrive in two days) — I would choose the latter.
But when I think about the simplest and most strategic thing I am able to do for myself that’s Covid-safe, it’s walking. When I weigh what activity I can do almost every day, with little preparation, minimal effort, no special equipment, and that can contract or expand to fit the exact amount of time I have available, it’s walking. When I consider what I can do for myself even when my back pain is flaring up, it’s walking. When I want to do something that’s good for my mind, body, and soul, it’s walking. When I want someone’s company (physically distanced, of course) — or just want to be alone, walking works.
Continue Reading Here.
- When we go for a walk:
- we perform better on tests of memory and attention;
- our brain cells build new connections, stain off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age;
- we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down;
- our attention is left to meander and observe, helping us generate new ideas and have strokes of insight.
- a single bout of moderate-to-vigorous activity, including walking, can improve our sleep, thinking and learning while reducing symptoms of anxiety.
- boosts creativity (proven).
- Walking outdoors can compound the dividends -- improve your self-esteem and your mood with just 5 minutes of exposure to nature by helping us switch from voluntary attention (draws on our reserves of focus and energy) to involuntary attention (requires less focus and energy), allowing us to recover from mental fatigue.
- Five ways to walk with purpose:
- Walk for perspective -- intentional reflection
- Walk for connection -- invite people to join you, even if over the phone
- Walk for learning -- for example, listen to a podcast or audiobook while walking. Or take photos of things you find that you don't know about and research when you get home.
- Walk for gratitude -- think of what you can be grateful for as you walk.
- Walk for productivity -- brainstorm ideas while walking, or schedule networking calls while walking.
- Sometimes you have to let the walk's purpose reveal itself.
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