Having a brain break is a great way to get a perspective on what’s happening elsewhere in your life. Everyone probably has their preferred method of relaxing their head, be it reading, listening to music, watching movies or going out with friends. Mine of course is walking and I’ve found the more I walk, the more I need to walk.
There have been a few studies recently looking at the positive effects walking can have on brain fatigue. This is what I call fuzzy brain or simply overload – when I’m just too overwhelmed or exhausted to make one more decision. The days when a question like ‘what’s for dinner’ can send me straight out the door for a post-work/pre-evening walk. This study for example found people who walked in a natural environment had decreases in levels of anxiety and rumination (compulsively dwelling on something negative or stressful) as well as better cognition, useful for complex working tasks compared to a group who walked for the same amount of time in an urban setting. Another work-related benefit is an active commute. This study out of the UK found that people who walked (or biked) to work reported better psychological well-being over car commuters, including an ability to concentration better.
It took me many years of walking to realize this is an activity my body and mind crave. Luckily, I’m aware enough of when I’m feeling all itchy and distracted, going for a walk will at least calm me a little bit, if not completely cure whatever is ailing me. Try it next time you are feeling stressed – I can almost guarantee it’ll probably work better than chocolate!
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