Hopefully you’ve learned by now that walking is incredibly underrated. Not only can it help you lose weight and keep your heart healthy, it can even make you a more productive person. And while those are all fantastic excuses to take a walk, research shows it can also be a huge boon for your mental health.
PROBLEM-SOLVING AND INSPIRATION
A pair of modern luminaries are known for walking. Apple’s Steve Jobs and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are both know for taking walking meetings. According to a Stanford study, creative thinking improves while a person is walking and shortly thereafter, as opposed to sitting.
If you’re having a hard time problem solving or finding inspiration, take a stroll instead of stewing at your desk. Like Jobs and Zuckerberg demonstrate, you can often fit walking in where you previously may not have thought of it. If you have small meetings at work or take a lot of phone calls, see if you can take them walking instead of sitting or standing and see how it affects your creativity.
And no, you don’t have to walk outdoors to reap the benefits. The same Stanford study found no significant difference between walking outside versus inside. So even if it’s walking the halls of your office building or around an indoor track, you’ll still receive the benefits.
MEMORY AND FOCUS
Walking has also been shown to improve your memory and attention. The motion increases our heart rate and more blood and oxygen are able to reach the brain, so you might just absorb more of what your coworker is saying during that walking meeting, too. Regular walking can also increase the size of the part of the brain responsible for memory loss, which tends to decrease as we get older.
And while the research is still limited, walking could also be helpful in alleviating symptoms of depression, according to studies. So whether you want to be like the generation’s luminaries or just keep in top mental shape, all signs point to walking.