Postdate: 28 November 2016
Walking is an effective way of responsible exercising: it increases the creativity and reduces stress. After a brisk walk, you already notice that your mental strength has improved. It is perfectly possible to have a meeting or a tough discussion while you walk. Why is that?
It is perfect to add a daily walk to your current lifestyle. This is because people are more creative when they walk, as research by the Stanford University has shown. When you walk, you loosen up your thoughts. This process continues for a while: when you sit down afterwards, you are more creative than before. The striking thing is that it doesn't matter where you walk. The effect is the same, whether you walk on a treadmill or outdoors on the beach. This is because walking increases your heart rate. More blood flows through your muscles and organs, including your brain.
It is often advised to go for a walk to clear your head or to relax. So it contributes to your health and well-being in general. Being outdoors gives you fresh air and distraction and, additionally, the walks increase your vitality and motivation. There are also noticeable physical reasons why you experience less stress after a good walk or after exercising in general. As soon as you start exercising, your brain will see this as a moment of stress. Your heart rate increases and your brain thinks that you are in a fight or flight mode. To protect yourself against this stress, a certain substance is released (BDNF protein). This protein has a protective and repairing effect on your memory and serves as a kind of reset button. This is why we often feel so clear-headed after a physical activity.
A good conversation
You may have a meeting scheduled in your diary. You can do this perfectly while you walk. It can even be more comfortable, sometimes, when you don't sit across a table during a discussion. So ask your conversation partner to go outside for a walk. To sum it all up: walking does a lot of things with your brain, making your more creative and more positive.
And there are, of course, other external factors why a good conversation in the fresh air works really well. When you walk outside, you respond to the environment. It may offer a nice twist or some distraction in a conversation, which can lighten up a serious topic. And because you don't have to look at each other the whole time, you may feel less pressured. So there are plenty of reasons to step outside!
‘Thoughts come clearly when one walks'