Hey friends, I have been talking about writing and how it improves our thinking and speaking. But we forget to look after our physical health, especially after the pandemic as we are constantly working. Today I want to talk about the benefits of walking. I don't mean to write about it as if to teach you but I would like to share my story and then tell you the scientific backdrop of why walking is beneficial.
In 2020, I was on the Mysore Infosys campus that had a jogging track and every morning I used to go and start walking.
No serious thought behind it but I wanted to be fit and looking at the race/jog track made me want to challenge myself to run 5 complete rounds of it.
Obviously, I couldn't do it right at the beginning so I took my time and within two months I ran 7 rounds of the track non-stop. It was one of my precious wins.
Along with getting in shape, I noticed a few things that were an added bonus:
- The work I do (learning and actual work) started to feel exciting.
- The quality of sleep increased.
- I was more enthusiastic than ever before.
- There was immense satisfaction after hitting daily goals.
I set the goal of improving by over a quarter lap every three days. So, by the end of 1 month, I used to run 2 whole rounds of the track without stopping for a break.
Within the second month, that increased to 7 rounds automatically. The same routine but didn't get tired soon after two rounds hence I kept going. Every day I either jogged the same as the previous day or increased by a quarter for the first month and then in the second month, I was able to increase it by more than half.
You see, it's what I wanted and hence I was able to reach my goals so quickly and patiently. Before this used to expect results in weeks, but these two months of constant, slow progress have been a huge change both physically and mentally.
Why walking is beneficial:
Walking forms new synapses in the brain and they tend to form and then allow themselves to reorganize. This is something I have mentioned in one of my previous notes, the phenomenon of Neuroplasticity - which means the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury.
There are studies from Stanford University that say walking improves creativity.
Steve Jobs, Jack Dorsey, Beethoven, and Morgan Housel - everybody walks. They say it is to clear their head and keep them focused which brings out exemplary performances.
So, the question is needed to be asked - What does walking do to our brain? - short answer: It begins with changes to our chemistry.
This article from The New Yorker states the following message -
Walking on a regular basis promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them.
When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention.
Keeping the studies apart, walking helps in clearing out our minds.
It will declutter the things that are unnecessary and once you get back to what you were doing - you will feel better.
In case you are stuck with a problem - start walking. It can be just a walk around your neighborhood. As a writer, you will find better ideas and references in return.
I am writing this to be held accountable to start working out as I have become a couch potato. I am writing to let you all know the upsides of working on the physical body as well. I obviously am not saying walking is the only exercise there is. You do what feels comfortable to you.
Thank you for reading!