Walking Resolutions

Walking ResolutionsOne of many dreaded questions that are asked at the end of every year is the New Year’s resolutions one. I have a recurring one: Be more patient. I obviously never keep it because I have to make it again every year, but I do like to think I’ve made progress.

Exercise goals and weight loss are oft-resolved ones, in fact, Nielsen released a report in 2015 that found ‘stay fit and healthy’ was the number one thing Americans promised to do for themselves that year. While my eating habits could probably use a boost, it would be nice to walk more in the New Year. In fact, I’m thinking of (but haven’t resolved) doing one of these walking challenges. I found with running, having an event to work towards kept me focused and motivated on training. If anyone has participated in a long-distance walking event I would love to hear about your experiences.

If a healthy you is your goal for 2017, first let me congratulate you. It’s important to do something for yourself, and life will be better with a healthier mind and body. And may I suggest walking as an excellent way to get that healthy body? It’s free, doesn’t require any special equipment and can be done practically anywhere. An activity that is cheap, easy and doesn’t have time constraints takes away a lot of the excuses we give ourselves for not doing something. No need to spend money on a gym membership AND it should save you money it terms of health care costs. The Harvard Business Review found that for every dollar spent on preventative health (of which walking counts) you’ll save $2.71 in health costs later on. The study was done around employee wellness programs but the transfer can be made. A healthier you is a cheaper you.

Since we are on the topic of resolutions and I love interesting factoids, the University of Scranton actually did a study on how many people keep their resolutions. Website Statistic Brain broke it out and turns out only 8% successfully achieve their resolution. Don’t let that put you off determining to do something good in 2017 – the study found that “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.”

Be strong, be focused and have a rewarding 2017!

Image courtesy of Ed Yourdon via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Holiday Refresher

In times of high stress, it is so important not to neglect your health, both body and mind. As the end of the year edges closer, are you doing enough to take care of you? Our time and energy is often directed towards others in December, leaving the personal energy well dry.

Reenergize yourself by taking a walk every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Those brief minutes alone will revive your brain and help you concentrate better on the tasks at hand. If you can, slip into some green space. Studies have shown that walking in natural areas is an excellent stress reducer. Giving yourself up to the environment is an excellent way to ease your mind.

Exercise-induced endorphins are a real thing, and something that can be generated by a brisk walk. Setting the alarm for 30 minutes earlier, taking a walk during lunch or after dinner will instantly boost your mood. Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain which may help improve your cognitive skills. Going for a walk is good for your body too. Moving your legs and arms as you walk will help reduce muscle tension that seems to be build faster these days. Don’t forget to breathe deeply.

With your mind so focused on your to-do list, walking with the aim of soaking up the environment around you (be it park or city) will widen your view to what’s happening in the world around you. Even if it’s mundane, it’s not something you have to worry about so enjoy it!

You may think you don’t even have 15 minutes to spare, but you do. This is because after giving yourself a brain break you’ll come back to your tasks with more energy and greater focus, probably getting more work done. Please take some time to walk and enjoy a bit of peace this holiday season.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Gift Ideas for Walkers

walking-gift-ideasHave a walker in your life that needs a holiday gift? Here are some ideas for useful gifts that will make any walker jump for joy.

Sockguy Socks

All walkers know how elemental socks are to a good walking experience. If you want to have some fun with your feet, check out Sockguy. They have a cool airflow upper, durable heel and toe and come in a bunch of great colors and styles for both men and women.

12-in-1 Headband

Hot or cold, this headband will get you through all types of walking weather. You can use it as a bandana, headband, cap and more. In the summer, it keeps the sun off of your face and neck, while wicking away sweat. Come winter, put it on for warm ears and neck. Lots of colors and patterns to choose from.

FlipBelt

This is high on my wish list. The FlipBelt allows the wearer to carry those pesky items needed for a walk – house keys, mobile, etc. There are multi access pockets, no buckles to pinch your skin and its machine washable. I have a slim waist bag I use when running but this looks so much more comfortable. In fact, it looks like you wouldn’t feel it at all. Bonus – it comes in a bunch of different colors.

Water Bottle

Seems silly doesn’t it, but a refillable water bottle is an environmentally friendly necessity for the regular walker. There are tons to choose from, and each person probably has their favorite features. This one from Thermos offers a wide drinkable spout, easy push button to open (hygienically protects the drinking spout too) and is virtually leak-proof.

Exerstrider Walking Poles

I’ve never been able to get a good rhythm going with walking poles, but they are a great way to boost walking fitness. The ones from Exerstrider have ergonomic grips, can collapse to a small size for easy transporting and are easily adjustable. A free DVD is included when you purchase from Amazon.

If you are unsure what the walker in your life might need or want, a gift card to a sporting goods store will be appreciated. See something here you really like? Treat yourself! Tis the season after all!

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Walking Will Make You a Genius

walkingMuch like my last bait-clicky headline, I have no real brain improvement suggestions here. Like last week, I’m going to share examples of famous people who believed walking was integral to their work and productivity.

Aristotle

The peripatetics were the group of students who belonged to Aristotle’s school of thought. The word ‘peripatetic’ is Greek for meandering and the famed philosopher conducted his lectures while walking the school grounds. It’s interesting to reflect on all the walking research being done today when one of history’s greatest minds already knew the cognitive benefits of moving and thinking.

Charles Darwin

I mentioned Charles Dickens in part one of this article and one of his contemporaries, also a Charles, used walking to get a handle on his ideas. Charles Darwin had a gravel path in the Kent countryside near his home he used to call the thinking path. His intellectual routine meant that twice a day he would walk the path, reflecting on his day in a natural environment.

Albert Einstein

Darling Albert is the author of one of my favorite quotes: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” While my moving typically involves my feet versus wheels, I am totally on board with his philosophy. The act of not moving leads to stagnancy in one’s life. And moving was something the famed theoretical physicist firmly believed in. His chosen environs? The beach. He believed a long walk here would lead to introspection which in turn would help him work out the complex thoughts he was doubtlessly continuously having at work.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, you know, the Apple guy, took long walks for a different purpose. When he wanted to have a serious conversation with someone, he preferred to do it moving, on foot. He was one of the walking meetings pioneers and once you try it, you’ll find that getting away from the distraction of the office will enable you and your colleague to focus more on the task at hand.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg, another Silicon Valley icon prefers the walking interview.  Walking the Facebook campus versus sitting behind a desk, he presumably gets a better idea of the person and how they may fit with the Facebook culture.  Being in an environment atypical for the task at hand often leads to uncharacteristic reactions.

Something as simple as getting up and going for a walk might just release your inner genius. If you’re looking to get those creative juices flowing and improve your overall well-being, make like the thinking experts, and walk.

Image courtesy of negativespace.co

Walking Will Make You Famous!

famous-walkersPeople walk for many different reasons – exercise, relaxation, because they have to. Walking brings a variety of benefits to one’s everyday life and regular walkers know how important and special their walking time is. Improved creativity is one scientifically backed reason to walk, and if the facts don’t move you outside, maybe the influence of these famous walkers will. I apologize if you thought I was going to give you a hot tip to become famous. But read on anyway to see how walking worked to motivate these well-known figures.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Known to carry a pen and blank music sheets, the German composer usually worked from morning till mid-afternoon, with a couple of walking breaks. After his typically large lunch, he would take a longer walk that lasted the rest of the afternoon.

Soren Kierkegaard

Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard penned one of my (many) favorite quotes on writing: “Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.”

Kierkegaard was someone who explicitly put his thinking in the “feet” of his legs, believing his work was only successful when he was regularly able to pound the pavements of Copenhagen, which he did without fail.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Another of my favorite walking quotes comes from this philosopher: “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” The man started every day with a two-hour walk and his notebook. He was more of a leisurely stroller than an arm-pumping marcher, and paused often to write down the brilliant ideas his walks inspired.

Charles Dickens

Many people aren’t aware of what a walker Dickens was. Read his book The Uncommercial Traveller for wonderful stories about his wanders. A near constant insomniac, many of his walks were through London streets at night. While his friends worried that he may walk too much (is that possible?!?), you could surmise that all that walking translated into a whole lot of writing as well.

William Wordsworth

Another writer who needed to walk, this prolific poet believed the act of walking was inseparable from the act of writing poetry. Why? Because both needed rhythm. He needed the movement of his legs to properly produce the movement of his poems.

This is a very short list. Next week, I’ll share another group of famous walkers, those who used the inspiration gained from walking for different pursuits.

Image courtesy of: Vainsang via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND