I am a habitual walker. Everyone in my office knows that.

Around 7:30 am I get to work. I focus on the task at hand and get into flow until about 10 am. Then I take a break and step out of the office for a short 10 minute walk.

The time isn’t always the same, but one thing remains consistent: I make sure to get in my walk.

At 12 pm I take a break for lunch. After I finish eating I go for another short walk.

Then after another 2-3 hours I go for one last walk during the work day.

No matter where I am working or what is going on, I always find time to go for a walk.

I don’t care how busy things are or how crazy my bosses are, I make every effort I can to go for a walk and get my 10,000 steps in during the day.

It’s not always easy. Sometimes I have a deadline that I need to hit. Or I’m asked to help assist on another project. And I’ll go longer without taking a break. But I always find time for a walk.

Walking leads to focus

I credit walking with helping me focus better throughout the day. I’m more productive. Not only that, but I feel happier at work.

By the end day, while others are dragging ass and on their 3rd or 4th cup of coffee, I feel refreshed, focused, and as though I could continue working for another few hours if I have to (which I do sometimes).

I credit all of this to going for those short walks throughout the day.

I don’t walk because of the health benefits

I have a hard time sitting still. I like to get up and move. But when you work on the computer all day long, there aren’t many opportunities to this.

Many of my coworkers sit at their desk all day long without ever leaving the office. The only time they get up is to go to the bathroom, pick up something from the printer, or the heat up their lunch in the breakroom.

That’s not me. I need to get up. I need to move.

3 reasons to walk

Walking helps me reevaluate and focus on what matters

When I’m out in nature I focus better. I go out for a walk with thoughts or questions to ponder in my subconscious mind. When I go back to work, the answer I’ve been seeking suddenly comes to me.

Taking breaks throughout the day and changing the environment that helps my brain make connections that I wouldn’t otherwise make.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you’re thinking about a problem before you go to bed, and then in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning the answer comes to you? That’s what happens when I go out for a walk. Answers seem to appear.

It is meditative

I’ve mentioned this in a prior article, but for me going for a walk can be very calming and meditative.

When I go for a walk I use it as an opportunity to focus and become mindful of the world around me.

When I walk out the door the first thing I notice is the sidewalk and all of the cracks and the plants growing in between some of those cracks.

I look up to the sky and notice if there are clouds. What are they shaped like? Does it look like it will rain today?

I look around at the trees and other features in the landscape around me. There is usually just grass and shrubs. But, every once in a while, there is a beautiful flower or unique looking plant.

Then my mind shifts to the buildings and the cars around me. I think about all of the other people out there. I wonder what they are up to and where they are going.

By the end of my walk, I am mindful and relaxed, just observing the world around me. It’s a great opportunity to reset your brain, recharge, and get ready to put in another few hours of work.

Best of all, walking is natural, easy, and free.

You don’t need a gym membership to go for a walk. You experience half the impact on your bones and joints than if you were to go for a run. And most people are capable of going out for a walk on a regular basis.

In fact, in a study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, regular walkers could actually be healthier than runners.

Risks for hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease drop significantly in walkers as compared to runners.

This could be due to the fact that chronic running could lead to over training and inadequate recovery time, which could make you susceptible to overtraining, injury and illness.

In summary

Walking has made me more productive, relaxed, and happier.

Give it a shot! Using a fitness tracker or any number of free apps on your phone, try to get in 10,000 steps per day and see how it affects you.

Do you enjoy going for walks throughout the day? What benefits do you notice when you go for a 20 minute walk?

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39 thoughts on “Change your mental state by walking

    1. That’s a very good point! I think doing almost anything outside, free of distractions, can have a great impact on our day. Thanks for the comment Laura.

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  1. Justin, once again an amazing article! You know funny enough, this morning as I got ready for work I thought of doing just that today but as I got to work I forgot about it. I am actually experiencing a quiet time at work so I have time to do it. No excuse about deadlines!! Thank you for reminding me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dude. Yes! I completely agree with you, something about getting out of your environment and clearing your head. I run or walk, both have great benefits in terms of finding my center and getting balanced again.Totally helps me turn the corner sometimes. Just breathing and talking through things. Good post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. 5 million years of evolution backs you up on this. I suspect we did not evolve to run for much more than a few minutes particularly when you hear of the muscular skeletal injuries suffered by running friends. Walking dailyish also helps maintain a preparedness for greater exertions should the need arise.
    eg https://acambrianway.wordpress.com/2016/08/26/cowboy-camping-in-the-dunes-feeding-the-rat/
    Sorry about the plug for my video.
    Thanks for a great post – it is good to be reminded of the value of simple walking.
    I’m off to read “why I don’t tell peeps what to do anymore” sounds interesting
    Freddy

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Justin, thanks for following my blog. I will be following yours as well. I like this post, because I like to walk, and I agree with every point that you have made. I do tend to let myself slip from time to time, and the winters here make it hard to walk, especially if there is a lot of snow.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We all tend to slip from time to time. I know sometimes when it gets really cold here I don’t want to spend too much time outside as it can be brutal, so I can’t imagine how it is where you are from. Keep on keeping on my friend.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love to walk, too. I live near a park and I have started going just with the idea of noticing at least three things. That focus keeps me from worrying about the rest of the day or ruminating about the past. It just keeps my focus right there in the moment, like you said. A good bit of the poetry I write comes from those observations on my walks.

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    1. Agreed. That’s great that you live near a park to help encourage you to walk more. Do you actively try to come up with poetry while you walk? Or is it more subconscious and spontaneous?

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      1. I try to notice when I walk but the poetry is more subconscious and spontaneous. Actually, it’s almost obsessive! 🙂 But really walking is a great inspiration for me. Fortunately I also have a nature preserve about a mile from my house. I moved here specifically for the great places to walk.

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  6. I always feel like walking is the generator for my thoughts. It gets them flowing and it helps my inspiration. I have a tendency though to concentrate on my work and hours will go by before I get up. Then I find I can barely straighten myself up. I need to follow your example.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I do the same! I walk for about 45 mins/5 kms every lunch hour, rain, sun or snow. Doesn’t matter. The walk breaks up my day and keeps me refreshed for the afternoon. While I walk, I listen to audio books so I can learn while I walk. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny because I’m currently reading a book called “Search Inside Yourself” and I came across the exact same thing!

      Are there any of his books that you really enjoyed and recommend I check out?

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  8. Great post. I walk for health reasons and also to clear my head. Some days I have to force myself to walk especially now that the weather is turning cold. I also use my break time for a quick ten minute walk and to get away from my desk.

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    1. I hear that! I’ve worked through my “walk breaks” occasionally, only to have a headache and feel completed exhausted by the end of the day.

      Thanks for the comment Mary!

      Like

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