Walking Can Boost Happiness
A 10-20 minute walk is a great way to clarify your thoughts and put your problems into perspective. One aspect of walking that is often overlooked is how much it can enhance your creativity. Studies have shown that spending as little as 1 hour each week in a natural environment can have a positive influence on creativity, says James A. Swan, PhD, author of Nature as Teacher and Healer. New ideas, thoughts, and emotions are often believed to arise during a walk.
A better use of walking is to increase one’s awareness. Use all your senses to gain a better appreciation of your surroundings. For instance, learn to read the countryside – the canvas painted by glaciers and the landscape shaped by erosion. Watch for animal tracks and signs as well. Additionally, listen to the birds chirping, the woodpeckers drumming, the rustle of creatures rummaging in the bushes, the sound of the wind through the trees. Feel the shape and texture of a tree bark, flowers, and leaves. Smell the aroma of freshly trimmed grass, the scent of flowers, and decaying wood.
A walk is also an awesome opportunity to share valuable time with family, friends, or colleagues. Rather than always going out for a walk on your own, why don’t you ask someone to join you? Or the next time that you have a meeting, try taking it outdoors. You may find that fresh air helps in allowing you to “think outside the box”.
For those seeking to take walking to the next level, there’s a sport called orienteering. It is the ideal participation sport for people across varying ages. It involves a combination of map reading and decision-making skills. There are various levels to suit different ages and abilities.