The Secret, Soul-Affirming Benefits of Walking
While self-care will always be an important part of life, it isn’t always easy. Sometimes the things that are the best for our minds, bodies, and souls can be the hardest undertakings.
If you’re in a funk that feels inescapable, it’s like that the last thing you want to do is force yourself to participate in any activity — regardless of how helpful the outcome may be. But sometimes, doing something as simple as taking a leisurely walk through your neighborhood can be exactly what you need to lift your spirits and gain some perspective.
Walking is one of the most natural forms of exercise but gathering the motivation to put your shoes to the pavement can be difficult, especially in times of stress or emotional disturbances. However, not only is walking a low-impact, extremely beneficial form of exercise, it can also be great for the spirit. Taking a peaceful stroll can even be wonderfully impactful on your mood.
Whether you are an avid walker looking to add the spring back into your step or you can’t seem to find the motivation to put your walking shoes in, these lesser-known benefits of walking will have you out the door and in the sunshine in no time.
Walking Can Be Better than Running
We live in a very active, exercise-adoring society—and to some, walking may seem like nothing more than a waste of time. After all, what’s the use of exercising if you aren’t busting a sweat?
Well, walking is actually a very effective form of exercise, with long-lasting results. According to Chiropractor and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Dr. Matt Tanneberg, “Walking can be as good a workout, if not better, than running.” Tanneberg says this is because many other exercises lead to the dreaded plateau:
“You hear of people ‘plateauing’ when they continue to do the same workout routine and stop seeing results. I see patients all the time that plateau from running, they will run the same distance, speed and time, day in and day out. You need to constantly be switching up your exercise routine in order to get the maximum benefit for your health.”
So, while you may initially feel like a nice stroll is lesser than an intensive, sweat-inducing jog, just remember that walking is actually more sustainable and effective in the long run.
Walking is Good for the Brain
According to a study performed by Stanford University, walking has the ability to boost creativity by as much as 60%. Through a process — labeled by researchers as “divergent thinking” — walking allows you to produce more creative ideas by encouraging you to think openly about the myriad solutions to any problem you might be facing.
The study also suggests that by walking, you are opening the channels for liberated creativity that flows unencumbered. Not only will you be giving your body the exercise it needs, but you’ll also actually become more thoughtful and inventive on your ambles.
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The Miracle Walk
Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy is an artist who goes by the acronym, SARK, and her ideas about meandering through the world on a delightful stroll are just as mesmerizing as her illustrations.
According to SARK, there is little in this world as exciting as one of her “miracle walks.” SARK will go on a walk specifically looking for a miracle, and they always find her. She approaches the Earth and thinks, “Miracles find me now.”
She began her process years ago, when she was living without money, surviving on barters and trades. Simply by asking the Universe for a miracle, she began to see one on every walk she took. And she suggests that we begin by allowing ourselves to ask for a miracle.
Sometimes the hardest part of self-care is believing that you deserve to be taken care of. The most difficult part of requesting a miracle along your walk might be deciding that you deserve to experience one. And you do.
Walking for Yourself
While there are many reasons to get out for a nice excursion through nature — physical health, mental organization, a boost in creativity, emotional clarity — perhaps the biggest, most exciting reason to go for a stroll is simply for yourself. For not other reason than the fact that you deserve time to yourself, you deserve to stretch your legs, you deserve to feel the pulse of the Universe and the call of the wild.
And while it may be a difficult habit to get into at first, if you just take those first few steps, you’ll find your stride in no time.
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