If we look at successful people’s daily routines, we can find that they have this one thing in common – they all do some form of exercise.
Many opt for the simplest way to keep active; to walk outdoors in the fresh air, every morning they might walk to the office and at the end of the day they walk back home.
As a fitness expert and personal trainer with 16 years’ experience, the first piece of advice I give to my clients is to use every opportunity to get your daily walk – whether it’s walking to work and back, using the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, or if you have a lovely dog, the twice-a-day walk is automatically included in your day.
According to many studies and trials, sitting for hours a day without any exercise or moving effects the body in a negative way.
Every day we should include some activity in our daily routine. One of the most popular and most beneficial activities is WALKING.
Walking doesn’t need any extra fitness equipment, only a pair of comfortable shoes which you can change as soon as you arrive at the office. However, you can boost the effectiveness of the walk by wearing ankle and wrist weights during the walking session.
Walking is a low impact cardio exercise, which means that it’s suitable for everyone; adults, children, and the elderly. You’re also fine to take a gentle walk during pregnancy or during recovery from operations or illness.
Just 30-60 minutes walking each day brings many positive benefits to our body whilst also having huge mental and emotional rewards.
There are many reasons why walking can increase your productivity, here are just 5 to get you started:
Your mood will improve
Research shows that regular walking can modify your nervous system in a way that will allow you to experience a decrease in anger, hostility and sadness. You can even make your walks with a companion, partner, friend or neighbour to make it a more fun, social activity. This will help you to feel connected and boost your mood. Finally, walking outdoors exposes you to natural sunlight and fresh air which can help stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Whatever you do during the day, after a good walk, you’re guaranteed to have a more productive day and a better mood.
Improve focus and attention
According to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers, sitting for too long at our desks and looking at our computer screens for long hours depletes our “attentional resources.” The result is that our brains stop registering our surroundings and tasks because there is no stimulus. However, taking regular breaks and getting fresh air whilst walking provides different sights, sounds, and feelings that can help to re-energise the brain. When we return to our desks, what we see, and experience feels new again, so attention and productivity increase
People who spend at least 30 minutes walking every day, which is the most recommended activity by GP’s, are generally more satisfied with their work and personal lives. Feeling satisfied makes our life balanced and allows us to think positively. After a nice walk our personal productivity increases as does our feeling of success during the day.
Healthy body, healthy mind
An important factor to our everyday productivity, is our health, especially with regards to eating the right foods at optimal times of the day. On the activity side, walking has extremely powerful benefits for your health.
According to the American Heart Association, walking can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, lower obesity rates, enhance your mental wellbeing, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, breast cancer, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Also, the University of Pittsburgh’s study on people aged over 60 found that walking just three times a week increased the size of brain regions linked to planning and memory over the course of a year.
Children with attention deficits are able to “substantially improve” concentration after walking for just 20 minutes in the park, according to the Journal of Attention Disorders.
Walking helps stimulate creativity
Walking as part of an everyday routine improves the ability to think flexibly by encouraging the ability to shift thinking to produce a steady flow of creative thoughts. In a study from Stanford University, subjects completed a divergent thinking test whilst seated and again whilst walking on a treadmill or outdoors. The results showed that most of the participants benefited from walking compared to when they were seated, with the average increase in creative output at around 60%. Even more interesting was that the creative boost was more evident in the group that walked outdoors.
Recently, it has become very popular to organise walking meetings, which increase communication between co-workers. When you’re walking, you’re more relaxed. Increasing your heart rate, even just a little bit, also increases oxygen to the brain and the production of neurotransmitters. When you’re walking, you’ll have fewer distractions and will be able to openly communicate and problem solve. These benefits can’t be replicated within in-office meetings, leading to many successful leaders and directors becoming huge fans of the walking meeting. There’s a well-known saying: “The best businesses and ideas were created during activities and never in the office.”
Article provided by Maria Bajo, founder, www.msfitnesslondon.squarespace.com