If you are missing out on your running because your knees are giving way or you are missing out on your tennis game because of that sore back, try walking. Says this article by Deborah Riegel in the HBR, that walking has more to it than just keeping yourself active and getting those 10,000 steps a day ticked off. She says walking can help dealing with anxiety and keeping your brain sharp whilst maintaining your physical well-being.
“And here are five additional ways to walk with purpose:
1. Walk for perspective. These are trying times. The global pandemic has robbed so many of us of so much, and yet, most of us can still find perspective in the struggle. On days when I need some perspective, I’ll stroll while looking at the sun, the trees, or the water. Those views remind me to reflect on the expanse of the universe, to appreciate the beauty of nature, and prompt me to consider how much world there still is for me to explore (when it’s safe to do so).
2. Walk for connection. While you can walk alone, you don’t have to. And these days, walking is one of the safer activities available to us. Before I moved from New York to North Carolina, I had a standing Sunday walk with my neighbor Leslie. And now, despite being almost 600 miles apart, we still have our Sunday morning walks — just over the phone. Invite a friend or family member to join you — in person when it’s doable, safe, and responsible — and over the phone when it isn’t.
3. Walk for learning. As much as I like to clear my mind, I also like to fill it with new and useful information. I might walk while listening to a podcast or an audio book, or even the recording of a webinar I signed up for but wasn’t able to attend. Or I might take some photos with my phone of a tree or an animal I can’t identify (which, as a native Manhattanite, are most trees and animals), and look it up when I get home.
4. Walk for gratitude. As someone who has experienced both chronic and acute back pain, I often walk with a focus on how lucky I feel to be able to walk — and the relief of being pain-free. I will focus on the gift of feeling safe (most of the time) as a woman walking alone. Or that I have a clean, hot shower waiting for me at the end of my walk. Or I might even focus on the gift of being alive right now, when so many have died.
5. Walk for productivity. Sometimes I’ll arrange a coaching call with a client who has also committed to walk and talk. Or I might schedule a networking call with a client who is walking, too. I am also productive when I walk, and sometimes dictate brainstorming ideas, or even a new article, into my phone’s voice recorder. When I come home, I have something I can cross off my to-do list, in addition to that day’s walk.
And sometimes, I have to let go of my goals and let the walk’s purpose reveal itself to me. This happens most often when I’m walking with my rescue dog Nash, and she wants to follow a squirrel.
Here’s the bottom line: Walk when you can, where you can. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you for it.”
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