Why Walking Stimulates the Body and Brain

Walking is one of the body’s most natural movements. Walking is also one of our most reliable and earth-friendly modes of transportation. Additionally, for the young professional, including a stroll at some point in your workday also provides benefits not only for our physical health, but for our mental and emotional health as well. Swapping that coffee break for a walking date can also improve colleague relationships and work productivity. So kick off those toe-cramming high heels and heel-pinching loafers, gear up in your favorite sport footwear, and get walking.

Burn, Baby, Burn
If going to the gym is not really your scene, or if you just don’t have a facility nearby, or maybe if you want to add some additional activity to your regular workout regime, then walking can provide you with that sought-after extra calorie burn each day. Regular low-intensity cardio, like daily walking, has been proven more effective in burning fat than higher intensity workouts such as running or biking.  Do yourself an additional favour by seeking out those steep city streets or a nearby hilly park, as walking on an incline helps that heart stay healthy and that waistline stay trim.

Relaxation in Motion
It has been well documented that physical activity can help alleviate stress. For the young professional, walking is particularly useful in this capacity as it can be done just about anywhere and at any time that you are free. Simply removing the mind and body from the work environment and taking just a few minutes to get the heart rate up, the breathing heavy, and the eyes on other things, will help you to relax and refresh. Fight creative blocks, overwhelming projects, or difficult clients by going for a walk, focusing on the warm sun on your skin, the cute dog walking by, the smell of the bakery around the corner, the attractive person at the coffee shop, or the wind in your hair; anything to break up your day and distract you from work, if only for a few minutes. Walking increases endorphin levels (which elevates mood), loosens stiff joints and muscles, and gets you out into the wonderful world where perspectives can often change and the day can suddenly appear a little more manageable. 

Walk it out
Many tools are used in the workplace to aid in conflict resolution, building team morale, and getting the creative juices flowing. One very useful, though often overlooked, tactic is the group walk. Take the initiative and throw the idea out to your colleagues of starting a casual coffee-break walking group. Not only will you and your co-workers be working towards a healthier lifestyle together, but you will be able to engage in lighter, more personal chat and perhaps get to know those workmates who are often less likely to join in on after-work drinks, or who aren’t keen on attending company social events. Walking and talking with others is such a common part of human nature, and the power that such an activity can have on our relationships is profound. The next time you find yourself dealing with creative differences with a colleague, find your team becoming uninspired, or notice your cubicle neighbour having a rough day, suggest a walk and see for yourself how just 10 minutes can improve your working relationships.  

Walk your way to a better…brain
If you haven’t yet heard enough about of the powers of walking, according to PsychologyToday.com, walking also helps improve memory function: “Subjects who walked on a treadmill were better at correctly identifying which numbers were repeated in a series of digits read aloud.” Further, walking has also been proven helpful in improving attention span, as the process of walking actually triggers those areas of the brain in charge of attention and concentration. So think of your daily walks as not only beneficial exercise for your body, but also for your brain.