Why I’m Taking a Walk Every Day

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My mind seems full — and I’ve found this to be an issue lately. While I’m committing countless hours each day to absorbing ideas, facts and figures, my devotion to “down time” is, well, paltry. I’ve neglected that part of work life where you find the time to reflect and process information. Because of this, I’m certainly less productive. Things just seem to “hang out” in my mind, spinning, fermenting. Being busy is a great thing — overload another.

I’ve recently read a fascinating post (See it here. More on the book Daily Rituals, by Mason Currey, here.) about how some of the most incredible individuals of the last 400 years, spent their time. While their areas of expertise were varied (and remarkable), there was one link among many of them: From Milton to Tchaikovsky, many set aside time for a daily walk. A few ventured alone. One with family. Shame on me — I know better. Walks rock.

Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Digestion. I’m not referring to gastronomy — I’m referring to all of the information you’ve taken on-board today. It’s difficult to see patterns and develop linkages when your brain isn’t allowed the time to process effectively.
  • Fresh air. I love my office, but a change of scenery does help me to feel rested and refreshed. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a beach or a handy mountain range to view, as some of my colleagues. But the breeze is just as refreshing here in the mid-west — the birds just as vocal.
  • Lowered anxiety. With our busy work lives comes our unshakable friend, anxiety. Physical exercise has great way of managing this nagging work life by-product.
  • Digital reprieve. Not sure how much time you must spend in front of a computer — but I do a lot of my work on-line. At times, I simply forget there is more to life than Power Point.

I’m going to commit 20 minutes each day this summer to get out and walk. Whether it’s a stroll around your office building, a nearby park or a quick trek to grab lunch and back, I challenge you to do the same.

Take a tip from Mozart and keep paper and pencil handy. Write me here and let me know what happens.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, consultant and speaker. The Office Blend, has been recognized by Forbes as one of their “Top 100 Websites for Your Career” in both 2012 and 2013.

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6 thoughts on “Why I’m Taking a Walk Every Day

  1. I started walking 10k steps a day this time last year. I used to have panic issues and have not had any panic or anxiety issues. I come up with the best ideas and organize my business on my walks. It is amazing how many challenges I wind up solving. I’ve been so energized, that I spend a day a week on a nice long hike up a mountain and it’s been a life-changing experience for me. I think you might find that your 30 days turns into the most productive hour you’ve ever had. I’ve even had “walking” business meetings with people as opposed to sitting in a Starbucks and it’s been wonderful! I am excited to see where you go with it!

  2. I just started walking about a month ago. Not only have I shed about 8 pounds, but, just as you indicated, an incredible flow of ideas come into being. I find that although I am not focusing in on a problem or concept at the time, suddenly an idea pops in out of the blue. Obviously, even though I’m not telling my brain to work on the issues, it continues to do so, and without the stress and clutter that crowds in during the working day.
    I walk over an hour every morning, leaving my home between 5:30 and 6 AM, and usually track about 4 miles. I know look forward to my morning walks, (even taking pictures at times), and sometimes find myself out walking again in the evening if time permits.
    Keep up the good work.

  3. I’m not sure whether it’s perfect timing or a sign from above, but your post has hit it’s mark here. I’ve been aggressively studying for a professional certification exam scheduled at the end of this month as well as juggling work, family, friends, etc… Overload has hit and it’s brought along its sidekick anxiety. Yet despite what I know about the benefits of physical activity, I decided it was something I do not/ would not have time for as it takes away precious study time.
    30 minutes to unplug and breathe in some fresh air is exactly what my brain (and body) need to get me through these next few weeks of exam prep.

  4. For the past 4 years I take a brisk 30 minute walk a minimum of 5 days a week, and after the first 2 weeks my back quit hurting. I walk early in the morning when the air is freshest the moon and stars, and me. Lately I have been listening to Les Brown, Earl Nightingale, Jack Canfield, or something inspiring. Some days I just talk to God.. I know when I miss those walks, I truly miss them. It has been said “Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning to dance in the rain”. Sometimes I walk

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