Growing up, I could never understand why my mom would often go for a walk. It seemed like a waste of time. In small-town Minnesota, I saw it as an inefficient travel method, with driving, biking, or even running being far faster. And compared to more engaging physical activities like basketball or other sports, it flat out bored me. But that was then.
Now? As a young adult living in Brooklyn, I have a whole new appreciation for walks, be they outside or inside (I pace back and forth in my apartment like crazy). In fact, I believe many younger people should choose to go for a walk more often. Here are three reasons why.
1. Walking is a simple way to clear your head
Ever had a coach or parent tell you to go for a walk and cool off? Frustrating as that might’ve been in the moment, turns out they were onto something.
When you go for a walk, you’re not just getting away from people or a screen. You’re walking away from your worries. From your stressors. And you’re not walking towards other stressors either. If you’re walking outside, you get to observe the nature around you, taking in the color of the sky, the chirping of the birds, the force of the wind and more. If you’re walking inside, you can take in the outdoor scenery each time you pass a window while also relishing in your favorite decorations, like a picture of you and your best friend or that obscure thing you created in pottery class that one time.
Either way, a walk effectively serves as a detox of the mind. That’s why walking can be such a great stress-reliever.
2. Walking is an easy way to stay active
As a kid, your body is always in motion. Between gym class, sports, playing outside, weight room, and so on, being stationary can often seem more rare than being active. But that’s childhood. Adulthood is a little different.
Unless you go pro in your sport or take on a more physically active job or career, your movement may sharply decline after high school or college. Desk jobs are performed at a desk. A stationary desk. So, naturally, you’re bound to be less active throughout the day. And if you work remotely, you may be even less active—there are many cons to commuting to work every day, but the daily steps it helps you get in shouldn’t be overlooked.
Each time you go for a walk, you’re helping your body jump back into action. You’re getting your blood flowing, your muscles moving, your heart pumping. Walking might not be replacement for more intense exercise, but it’s certainly a welcome and beneficial bonus.
3. Walking is a straightforward way to spark creativity
You know how some people—including Emmy, Golden Globe, and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin—will take showers to kickstart their creativity? Going for a walk can have the same impact, without the high water bill.
That’s why I pace so much. Whenever I get stuck creatively and need to work through something, I get up from my desk and pace back and forth. And sure enough, just like in the shower, my creative juices start flowing more forcefully and my creative output skyrockets.
This creative spark isn’t just useful for writers, filmmakers, and other people in the arts. Whether you’re a football coach trying to come up with a new play or a college student endeavoring to give the most memorable class presentation of the year, a creative burst tends to be a good thing.
Considering all these benefits, it might be harder to find a good reason to not go for a walk. So give walking a try! Next time you have five minutes, go for a walk around the block. Who knows? You just might like it.