Will you get some fresh air
10 reasons why you should go for a walk more often
Do you spontaneously remember the last time you took a “real” walk? A little refresher: A walk is when you go outside without a specific reason or a specific goal (supermarket, post office, work) and do a lap on foot.
Sounds crazy I know!
For example, my grandpa was a stroller. He pushed me through the park in a pram for hours and explained the birds and trees to me (unfortunately I was too young to remember anything at the time). Often he suddenly just stood with us in the garden after he had marched the 7 kilometers from his apartment to us - and then of course we went back on foot again.
Going for a walk is out
And today? If going for a walk was “in” at one point or another, it has since gone completely out of fashion. It just doesn't fit into our time anymore.
Today we all want to be as productive as possible and not let a minute of the day go by unused. Even the waiting time at the bus stop has to be bridged with a quick Facebook or news check. Just stand around and wait for the bus? How wasteful!
If we voluntarily go outside and move around in a circle without having done anything or worried in the meantime, then we call it "running" and do it to get fit.
Going for a walk is only for grandpas. Or?
The walking experiment
In January, Katrin and I decided to go for a walk every day. It was the first of our 12 self-experiments for this year, which you can find out more about here and here.
The "rules" for this month were very simple:
In January we plan to go for a walk every day. The duration does not matter - even a walk around the block counts (but not going to the supermarket, it has to be a "real" walk).
It is not that we are particularly lazy - on the contrary. We run five to six times a week and otherwise walk a lot because we afford the luxury of not owning a car.
Nevertheless, we know that we, as “desk criminals”, do too little exercise on many days and wanted to change something through this experiment (also listen to our podcast episode “More exercise in everyday life with Dominik Albrech”).
Going for a walk every day: our conclusion
Here is our conclusion: It was great! Most of the time, it wasn't difficult for us to start our walk, even if we had already walked and done our shopping (we always do this on foot).
Sometimes we just extended the way to the supermarket, often we went straight after lunch for a short “digestive walk” or after a long run we used the walk to loosen up our legs.
We only skipped our walk twice because it was stormy or raining heavily. However, we had already run two days beforehand and then without further ado replaced the walk with a yoga unit.
10 good reasons for going for a walk
During our self-experiment, we learned that walks are by no means a waste of time, and now we want to do our “slow lap” more often than before. And if you are still undecided - here are 10 good reasons why you should go for a walk more often:
# 1 You can't be outside often enough
No matter how much time you spend outside - most of our lives nowadays take place in closed, air-conditioned rooms. We should therefore take every opportunity to go outside to breathe fresh air, hear the wind rustling in the trees and feel the sun on our skin.
# 2 Exercise is good for you
And that doesn't just mean intensive training. Just go outside for a moment and allow your arms and legs to leave their standard desk-computer posture and swing freely back and forth. A walk relieves tension and stimulates blood circulation!
# 3 Taking a walk is the best problem solver
“As soon as my legs move, my thoughts begin to flow.” The American writer Henry David Thoreau recognized this as early as the 19th century, and it is still true: When we go for a walk we find solutions to problems that we previously thought about Broke your head at your desk for days.
# 4 Taking a walk stimulates creativity
See point 3: When we walk, we not only find solutions to stubborn problems, but also have our best ideas. The movement and the many sensory stimuli during a walk stimulate our creativity and help us break out of stuck thinking patterns.
# 5 Taking a walk can help you fall asleep
Sleep problems are often related to the fact that our "internal clock" has lost its rhythm, which is mainly controlled by the alternation of light (day) and darkness (night). If we spend the whole day in closed rooms with dim artificial light, it cannot function optimally.
A daily walk in daylight is definitely worth a try if you often cannot fall asleep in the evening. The lunch break is ideal for this, as it is brightest outside in the early afternoon.
# 6 Taking a walk increases concentration and clears your mind
If you have already been working on a task for several hours at a time, you know the feeling: At some point your concentration drops rapidly, you become nervous and you are more and more easily distracted. We need regular breaks in order to be able to work in a focused manner, and a walk is the perfect “filler” - afterwards you will feel fresh and clear your head again.
# 7 Your body produces vitamin D when you go for a walk
Our body can produce the vital vitamin D itself, but that only works when sunlight falls on your bare skin. In the bright months from April to September you can cover your daily vitamin D requirement with a 15-minute walk in short clothing.
# 8 A walk is real "time for you"
“Time for me” is a precious commodity these days, because our diaries are often packed to the brim and we rush from one “to do” to the next. A walk can be your daily break from everyday life and give you real "time for yourself": Without a smartphone, Facebook and Co. - just you and your thoughts.
# 9 Going for a walk lowers the risk of many lifestyle diseases
Countless studies show that exercise is probably the best medicine of all time: It is free, has practically no side effects and has been proven to work against almost all known "diseases of civilization" - from cancer and osteoporosis to cardiovascular diseases, depression and chronic pain . The higher you dose it, the better. A walk is a good place to start!
# 10 Going for a walk makes you happy
This is our purely subjective impression, and we are not going to look for a study to prove it (although we would be very likely to find one). Our tip: Just give it a try and then decide for yourself!
Our experiment in February: A month without caffeine
After this successful start to our year of self-experiments, we will continue with the next challenge in February: This month we will forego our beloved cup of coffee in the morning and also not drink green or black tea.
The start went surprisingly well, and of course we will report afterwards how we fared!
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