I have a walk most days, sometimes down to the coast nearby, sometimes I only have time for a quick ‘leg-stretch’ around the streets near my home. I have thought about getting a treadmill for rainy days, which would serve the function of the physical exercise, but I was reflecting on what would be missing………
To begin with, of course, there’s the fresh air. Just how fresh the air is obviously depends on where you live, but even small changes like taking a route away from heavy traffic, down side-streets will improve the air quality.
Sun! Well, again, that will vary a lot, but simply being out and experiencing the weather (within reason!) is a positive thing, whether it’s sun, a fresh breeze, chilly air or what I refer to as ‘no weather’!
There are other benefits of walking outside we might not even notice. Many of us spend our working day in a ‘controlled’ environment – offices are often air-conditioned, we sit in one position, and working at a screen keeps our vision focused at a fixed point. The functions we perform are probably repetitive, too. When we go out our senses have to wake up! Our brain and body have to constantly adjust to slightly different surfaces, to turning corners, to avoiding obstacles. Our vision gets a workout, too – looking down at the ground, then into the distance, then noticing something interesting next to us. In fact, all our senses get great exercise – we pick up unfamiliar smells, sounds occur unpredictably, our skin is warmed, or tingled by cool wind. Our brain and body are designed to experience the world ‘in the round’ like this, every sense alive and working. It might sound like a rather inflated claim to make of a suburban lunchtime walk, but try it if your default is going to the gym – you might surprise yourself!