One of the simplest things to do on a daily basis can be the most impactful as well, only if you let it...
"Really Taylor? You think that I can't figure out how to take a walk by myself?"
No, I actually really hope that you can figure that part out on your own.
What I do hope is that you can realize how impactful this everyday walk can be, if you do it "right." Yes, right is in quotations because everybody is going to have a different "right," I am just going to show you why you need to be stepping up your walking game.
Walk in the morning, walk at night, I really don't care, just realize that there is much more to walking than the physical benefits. Walking can help you craft your mindset and help you mentally as well, which adds a whole new dimension to just your average walk in the park.
If you are not gaining more mental clarity, finding more happiness, developing some sick ideas and pushing your comfort zone on your walks, then you are doing your walks all wrong.
I am here to change that, time for all for all of us in our twenties and beyond to start walking, it is a game changer mentally.
The Reasons We Take Walks Each Day
Not only to just burn a few calories...
Sure, burning a more than a few calories is a great reason to start walking, there are a million articles out there on why that is so I really encourage you to check those articles out (after this one of course).
I don't wan't to talk about the physical benefits of a walk here, rather I want to talk about what a walk can do for you mentally.
First things first, we as humans were made to be moving at a consistent pace throughout the day as we evolved from walking miles each day for food and water. So, naturally we are not meant to be sitting around all day staring at a screen and then maybe for 20 minutes ti an hour, a few days a week, getting a hard workout in. Walking more during the day helps us move how our bodies were meant to move.
Next, how much UV light are you getting on a day to day basis? No the office or classroom lights don't count.
For many of us, the extent of the natural UV light we get throughout the day consists of walking into and out of our house, the office, school and where ever else you happen to go that day.
A walk can help you increase that UV exposure, especially right away in the morning when you wake up, and help get our brain functioning better and get our bodies back into a good circadian rhythm. This is going to help us sleep better and find more energy throughout the day, The lights you stare at on your computer on a day to day basis are causing you to lose that deep sleep and making you tired the rest of the next day. Get outside and get some of that natural UV, the brain loves it.
A lot of us also use walks a s a time to catch up on podcasts and learn more about whatever is peaking our interests. This is a perfect time to do so because you can learn while doing an activity that keeps the part of your brain that controls motor functions busy, allowing you to absorb more and more information. I always seem to learn better this way even if I am driving and not walking, keeping the brain centers that control motor functions busy while you learn is essential.
So, that was just a few ways that walks can help you that you definitely haven't thought about before.
How about learning to really get that mental edge on a walk now?
Can Walking Give You A Mental Edge?
Short answer, yes. Long answer, read below.
It seems that nobody really talks about the mental benefits of taking a walk each and everyday, or it just get mentioned and never explained.
That mental edge consists of learning from podcasts as I had previously mentioned but there is so much more to getting that edge mentally than just learning something new.
Use this for example, maybe you are out of shape or don't move much and a mile walk seems like the hardest thing in the world, maybe even the last thing you would want to do.
Then, you push yourself to take that walk and its hard as hell but you just put yourself in an uncomfortable situation, expanded your comfort zone and if you start doing this enough you can train your mind to start being a little more comfortable in uncomfortable situations. This is something that can help you in so many other areas of life than from your career to traveling an experiencing a new culture, it opens up so many opportunities.
So, maybe you just laughed because a mile walk is easy as hell for you. That's fine, there is other ways to get you outside of your comfort zone on a walk too. Start going on walks when it is pouring rain, when it is super cold or when it is super hot, just make sure to bring the proper gear. I bet you don't want to go on those walks. Start pushing yourself a little.
Have you ever given yourself a chance to let your mind wander? Or appreciate the world around you, living more in the present? We all get trapped in our day to day lives, focusing all our energy on what is coming next or what has just happened and never stopping to see where we actually are.
Sure, it might sound a little out there or up in the clouds but obviously if you feel like you are missing something and reading this article, there is a reason and might as well try it out. Living more in the present has done wonders for both my mental health and brain function. When you are clearer on where you currently are and what is actually going on, without the lenses of your past or future, you can better make decisions for your life.
Even incorporate a waling meditation to your walks in order to start living a little more in the present and take a step back. Sometimes that is all you need to answer those questions you have been asking yourself or even solve the problems you have been working on.
All of this cultivates into a mental edge in your life. Whether that edge be learning more about yourself, about your industry or even just trying to get a clearer frame of mind to help you in your day to day life. There is a way to get ahead mentally from those around you and this is a free and easy way to start.
What Many People Do Wrong Each Time They Go on A Walk
Not as simple as one may think.
You may think that there really isn't a way to "f**k up" a walk and you may be right. But there is a way to not fully experience all that a walk has to offer.
Many people just go out with the intention of burning a few calories so they throw on some running shoes go on a walk around the same trails they always go on and then come home. Usually listening to the same playlist and you would be surprised how many people I walk by that are on their phones and not even looking at what is going on around them, even in the most beautiful places.
The problem with this is that it just becomes part of a routine, you aren't thinking about what you are doing anymore, you are just walking at the same time because "that is what you do." You are not thinking about why you want to take that walk today or what that walk is going to mean for you.
Is it a rainy day and you are still going to go out to make yourself uncomfortable? Or are you trying to de-stress and focus on nothing for a while while you take your walk?
Plus, is someone is sitting on their phone the whole walk and just constantly taking in distractions on their phone, they are never going to actually take away anything from the walk, even if they are listening to a podcast. They are likely to forget what they were listening to by the time the walk ends.
When you are on your phone you are never going to be able to get any of the mental edges that I talked about above because you are treating the walk as just another thing on the to do list rather than surrendering to the experience and going all in on what you are doing, not touching your phone the whole time so you really can think through problems or let your mind wander.
Having A Purpose Behind Your Walks
Take a second, don't just fly out the door.
Not being distracted during your walks so you can experience what you are trying to experience is an easy thing to understand. What might be a little harder to understand is why you need a purpose behind your walks.
Just think about it like going to the gym, at first you know exactly why you are going to the gym and everyday is a challenge for you. Slowly, it starts becoming more of a routine rather than a challenge and eventually your results start to slow down because you have lost focus on WHY you are going to the gym. The only way to change that is to figure out that why again so you can change up the exercises and start pushing harder.
You need to understand the purpose of why you are doing something, don't just let it become a habit. When we let things become habits it just becomes second nature and we really stop pushing ourselves because we stop thinking about why we are doing something.
I have had this happen too many times when trying to add a new thing into my life to challenge me, it challenged me for a little bit but I ended up just plateauing after a while of repetition.
Apply this to your walks now, don't just let it fall into a habit and never really think about it ever again. Take a second to figure out what you want to get out of the walk and plan the walk accordingly based on the purpose behind the walk.
Are you trying to clear your mind? Appreciate the moment more so you can stop living in the past? Learn something new?
You have to decide that before the walk and plan accordingly.
How To Plan Out Your Walks
Crazy idea, right? Planning out our walks?
What exactly does "plan accordingly" mean when it comes to planning your walk though? Well, it can be anything from how far you want to go, if you want to bring your phone or not to even if you want to meditate or let your mind wander for part of the walk.
For example, maybe you have a main focus for the walk about learning more about how you think and taking a step back to see what habits are holding you back that you really are having a hard time seeing. Maybe you are going to not bring your phone on the walk so that you can ponder with a walking meditation and really do a deep dive into this question without the distractions that come with a phone.
So, you plan out a route and then leave your phone at home. Simple as that.
Or, maybe you want to really learn more about this new industry that you are trying to enter so you plan out the podcast you want to listen to around that industry and then a route long enough to make sure you can finish that podcast. Maybe you want to think about what you just learned too so you add extra time to the walk in order to make sure you can finish the podcast and then take the headphones out and let your mind wander on what you learned.
There really isn't a whole ton that goes into planning your walk, it is a walk so it can't be too complicated. You just have to learn to match the goal for the walk with how you are going to execute it.
What To Add to Each Walk
Here is HOW you actually start to change the game and get that mental edge.
Finally, time to get to the good stuff, a few of my favorite things to add to any walk to give you that mental edge or even just make it a little harder. (In a nice list for ya too)
Walking is a super easy thing to get started and when you do it the right way and know why you are doing it, it can really give you a mental edge!
I hope this helped some and have a great rest of your night,
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