I was having one of those days today: I’m tired, which makes me less resilient in dealing with obstacles and less focused at the tasks I need to accomplish. So I went and walked around outside for a few minutes and came back feeling a lot better.
Taking a short walk is one of my favorite ways to break out of a stuck place, get some new perspective, or re-energize a sluggish afternoon. Here’s why:
1. Standing up and walking away from your desk engages underused muscles and relaxes others. Add in a little stretch or shoulder roll to increase the benefits to your physical body.
2. When you walk, you breathe more deeply than when seated. Walking gives your lungs more room to expand, bringing more oxygen to your bloodstream and your brain.
3. Walking offers variety to the focusing muscles of the eyes, as you look at objects or people at different distances. This literally and figuratively can help you see things differently.
4. Because walking is a symmetrical activity that uses both sides of the body, some research suggests it can help to engage and align both sides of the brain. Fostering communication between the left and right sides of the brain can boost creativity and focus.
5. Experiencing nature, even if it’s just to look at the sky over a crowded cityscape or touch the leaves on a potted plant, can bring perspective and groundedness. You too are a living, changing being.