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How A Daily Walk Can Benefit Your Health & Creative Inspiration

How A Daily Walk Can Benefit Your Health & Creative Inspiration

People in many professions in today's world typically spend the majority of the day at their desks in front of the computer. We can quickly slip into the pit of the monitor screen and look at it for days on end if we don't keep track of time. This is harmful not only to our well-being but also to imagination and creativity.

In regards to staying healthy to stay inspired, writer Orson Scott Card once said about inspiration for writing, "Take care of your body. Writing is a sedentary activity, so it's easy to become fat and inert. And since the brain is dependent on the rest of the body, it is impossible to get work done when you are weak or sick."

Card's solution is a daily walk. He writes, "Don't spare any time for an hour's walk before work. You'll probably write a little less in the time you have left, but you'll notice that you've improved.

Card is not the only one praising the benefits of walking. Read on to learn about several famous writers who were also lovers of walking, and how daily walks can enhance your creativity.

In antiquity, there was a proverbial expression reminding us of the importance of walking - Solvitur Ambulando. It means - the solution in walking. An expression supposedly authored by the Greek philosopher Diogenes, when asked if the action was real, and then got up and went. The phrase was soon picked up as a variant of the description that walking energizes us and helps us think through problems.

For many, walking is an integral part of a healthy workday or any creative process. Charles Dickens loved hiking. He writes “So much of my traveling is done on foot, that if I cherished betting propensities, I should probably be found registered in sporting newspapers under some such title as the Elastic Novice, challenging all eleven stone mankind to competition in walking. My last special feat was turning out of bed at two, after a hard day, pedestrian and otherwise, and walking thirty miles into the country to breakfast… My walking is of two kinds: one, straight on end to a definite goal at a round pace; one, objectless, loitering, and purely vagabond.”

In 1851 Henry David Thoreau gave a delightful lecture on walking at Concord High School. He noted: “I think that I could not have maintained my health and good spirits if I had not spent four hours, and sometimes more, a day walking through the forests, hills, fields, feeling completely free from all obligations...”. When the traveler asked William Wordsworth's servant to show the master's research, he replied “Here is his library, and he does his research on the street”.

Despite single cases of praise from these creatives about the benefits of walking, scientific research has also proven their claims to be correct. Daily walks are a wonderful way to improve your health and get inspired.

How walking will fuel your creativity

A recent study conducted by Cambridge University in England with 334,000 men and women from across Europe showed that brisk walking or a regular 20-minute walk was sufficient to minimize the risk of premature death. Walking also helps relieve stress and alleviate symptoms of depression. To put it another way, taking a brisk morning walk leads to a longer and healthier life, as well as creating the mental space to spend more time in creative endeavors, doing good for the world, and with the people you care about.

But besides the obvious health benefits, walking can make us smarter. In 2011, scientific research showed that people who walked 40 minutes a day three times a week during a year increased the activity of the hippocampus (a part of the brain) and also improved memory.

An interesting study by Stanford University found that creative thinking is activated during walks and is active even for some time afterward. A study found that walking indoors or outdoors equally improves creative inspiration. Walking itself, not the surroundings, is the main factor. The level of creativity in people who walked was significantly higher than in those who sat all the time. People walking indoors on a treadmill in front of a bare wall and those walking outdoors solved twice as many creative problems as people just sitting down.

The study also found that the "creative juices" continue to work even when a person returns to a sitting position after a walk.

If you're struggling with feelings of apathy or procrastination, a good brisk walk will be a great stimulus to your brain activity and get you back in the flow. This is another one of the helpful life hacks that can help boost your creativity.

For those who have a busy life, it can be difficult to set aside time for creativity, let alone time for the daily half-hour walk. But these thirty minutes may well be broken up into shorter intervals: for example, fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen in the evening. 

Regardless of how much time you have to walk, know that there are benefits and inspiration from simple going for a little stroll. Enjoy!

Helen Wilson is a professional writer and her main topics are about self-improvement, and education. She studies psychology and health.


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