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

Science Loves Walking

elderly-walkI am a bit walking-obsessed and I started this blog to explore why this fairly pedestrian (pun intended) act was so important in my life. Not to mention connecting with other walkers who feel the same. As I’ve explored walking more in-depth, it’s amazing how much research supports taking a simple daily walk. It’s always nice to do something intelligent independent people say is good for you. Here’s a quick roundup of recent walking + science news.

Walking After Meals Helps Those With Type 2 Diabetes

Research out of New Zealand, published in the journal Diabetologia, found that taking a walk after a meal is a good way to manage type 2 diabetes. The study found that when the participants walked for 10 minutes after meals, post-meal blood sugar levels throughout the day dropped an average of 12%. This is compared to walking 30 minutes a day as the other group did. The biggest drop (22%) came for those who walked after dinner, typically a heavy meal. The authors noted in their study that post-meal physical activity ”may avoid the need for an increased total insulin dose or additional mealtime insulin injections that might otherwise have been prescribed to lower glucose levels after eating”. You can read an interview with the study’s lead author for more details.

Walking Three Times a Week Can Help With Dementia

Exercising three times a week could reverse the early stages of dementia according to researchers from the University of British Columbia. While doctors always advise people to exercise at all stages of their lives, these finding are notable because they say exercise can be used to treat cognitive problems. Published in the journal Neurology, the clinical trial took a group of elderly people and either had them follow a one-hour exercise program three times a week or not exercise at all. The exercise group saw an improvement not only in overall thinking skills but their blood pressure improved and they were able to walk farther. Seniors who may be experiencing early memory problems may benefit from a regular exercise program.

Image courtesy of Mister G.C. via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

#optoutside

optoutsideI’m not a shopper but have been known to utilize malls for their AC as well as the opportunity to walk in a dry place. If you live in the US you will be all too familiar with Black Friday, the massive day after Thanksgiving shopping sales. Retailers around the world seem to be jumping on this trend to get a bunch of stuff sold pre-Christmas. If you feel your extra day off and long weekend might be better spent doing something else, why not #optoutside?

In 2015, the outdoor retailer REI shut their stores, gave all their employees a paid day off and encouraged everyone to spend the day doing something outdoors. They report more than 1 million people and 170 organizations opted to go outside on Black Friday. This year, lots of other companies and groups are joining the movement, including the AVA, a walking club which hosts walks across the US. The REI site lists a number of activities to participate in including mountain biking, trail running and skiing.

November isn’t the friendliest month of the year to be outside, but choosing to spend even half a day with your friends and family in the great outdoors will create a memory much nicer than circling for a parking spot, fighting the crowds and maxing out your credit card.

Where will you opt to be this weekend?

Image courtesy of REI

Sit Less, Walk More

walk-moreEver since I switched to a standing desk (technically a tall table) sitting all day really exhausts me. It’s like all I have the energy to do is sit more. If you find your body and mind could benefit from less sitting, try these easy office tricks to get you mobile.

No Email from Me

That’s right. Unless I need someone to send me something, or there’s a bigger topic that involves different people, I’m most likely going to show up at your desk and ask my question. Could that be annoying? Depending on what my question is, maybe! But I find people appreciate the short distraction, the opportunity for a little human face time and the chance to exchange a smile.

Walking Lunches

Your entire lunch hour needn’t be consumed by a sweaty walk. Getting outside for even 15 minutes will make your afternoon go by with more energy and a refreshed outlook. Studies have shown that changing your focus more frequently leads to better concentration. And if you walk 15 minutes every day at lunch, you only need to squeeze in 15 minutes more to get the recommended 30 minutes of daily walk time into your routine.

Walking Meetings

Are you sick of me going on about how much I love walking meetings? Too bad, because I’m going to do it again. I have found no better way (besides going home at noon) to energize yourself to finish the day. The big bonus of bringing your colleagues along is that it is an approved work activity and you aren’t tagged as the disappearing co-worker. Both your body and your mind’s health will be greatly improved by even holding one or two walking meetings a week.

Park Far, Far Away

Pull into your company parking lot and stop at the first spot you see. A ‘long’ walk into work and the same at the end of the day will prevent you from sitting at least an extra minute. Of course a walking commute or using public transport will make your day even more walking robust!

Image courtesy of a454